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(Wlj (Dranfotb 

Like far-off bugles softly, sweetly blowing 

Across blue lakes, where answering echoes play, 
A strange low song, in waves of music flowing. 

Sings in my heart, and calls me far away, 
I hear it when the wheels of traffic turning 

Fill all the world with discord, fret, and jar ; 
I hear it when the midnight lamp is burning. 

And when in beauty comes the morning star ; 
Awake, asleep, that voice doth ever find me. 

Its admonition speaking night and day. 
Strangely mysterious, coming to remind me 

That I am wanted, waited far away ; 

Across the world, far over land and sea, 

The happy hills of home are calling me. 

Julian Stearns Cutler. 







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QU^ Cranfotb 

^ gpf ase of t?e Quiet Mit 

I would have peace and quietness. 

Some minds by nature are averse to noise, 
And hate the tumult half the world enjoys. 

Coivpery Retirement. 




Published February iqoq 

In June * t is good to lie beneath a tree 
While the blithe season comforts every sense. 
Steeps all the brain in rest and heals the heart. 
Brimming it o* er with sweetness unawares. 


O friendly to the best pursuits of man. 
Friendly to thought, to virtue and to peace. 
Domestic life in rural leisure passed! 
Few know thy value and few taste thy sweets ; 
Though many boast thy favors and affect 
To understand and choose thee for their own, 

CowPER, The Garden, 


A QUIET neighborhood, hke My 
Cranford, has its formal and un- 
eventful annals in the records of town 
meetings. Its intimate doings make no 
mark on the pages of history. Perhaps 
it is well, but there are some phases of 
unostentatious life in a small hamlet that 
are worth more than a passing glance. 
The parish that gives excuse for the 
pages that follow is dear to hundreds 
of its scattered children. Like many 
another New England hamlet that can 
hardly claim the modest dignity of a 
village. My Cranford has sent its sons 
and daughters far and wide over the 
world, and they have given a good 

®eeb0 TUotrff 1J of (R^cotb 

account of themselves. Ever and anon 
they return for temporary shelter under 
the ancient rooftrees ; from time to time 
they seek in their last days the comfort- 
ing calm that the great world did not give 
them w^hen they were living the strenu- 
ous life, — a life that they once hoped 
would win for them peace, perhaps lux- 
ury. Their deeds have been worthy of 
record, as worthy as those of the gen- 
erations that went before them, which 
were thought fit to be emblazoned on 
the pages of history ; but it is not the 
present purpose to perform this pious 

I shall merely suggest remotely the 

wealth of incident that the chronicler 

might preserve were he to sit at the 

feet of our local antiquary for a while, 

[ viii ] 

©xfen0ii?e Ctranfotb 

were he to essay to put life into the 
bare records of the town clerk and de- 
pict the stirring deeds of pioneers in 
the hamlet, or the every-day activity 
in such a parish. It is of great terri- 
torial extent, and the houses are as " far 
asunder'' as those visited so faithfully 
by Chaucer's good man of religion. 
The monotony of life, too, is sufficient 
to incite men and women to emulate 
the historic example of those pilgrims 
who sought a larger experience in the 
little journey to the shrine of the bliss- 
ful martyr of Canterbury. 

More and more as the strife grows 
intenser, in modern affairs, it is made 
plain that there is a place in the econ- 
omy of the world for unperturbed re- 
gions like My Cranford, where the 

^S}t (^utoctat ^axt^ 

weary dweller in the great city, and 
the overwrought toiler in the rattling, 
bustling manufactory, may withdraw 
themselves and refresh their minds by 
meditation under green trees, resting 
their bodies the while on the verdant 

What saith the Autocrat of the 
Breakfast-Table ? " I think I could go 
to pieces, after my life's work were 
done, in one of those tranquil places 
as sweetly as in any cradle that an old 
man may be rocked to sleep in. I visit 
such spots always with infinite delight. 
My friend the Poet says that rapidly 
growing towns are most unfavorable 
to the imaginative and reflective facul- 
ties. Let a man live in one of these 
old quiet places, he says, and the wine 

(^ (Xiamt in fiction 

of his soul, which is kept thick and 
turbid by the rattle of busy streets, set- 
tles, and, as you hold it up, you may 
see the sun through it by day and the 
stars by night." 

Is My Cranford a place for this sort 
of re-creation ? Perchance these pages 
may help to answer the question. 

aX)interti6e, 19O8. 

^*^ There is but a single name mentioned in 
these chapters that would be recognized by the 
Postmaster at Cranford, and that is a name in fic- 



Before the winter fire. The roads and fields of Cran- 
ford. No business there. The two "stores.** 
The one meeting-house. The many societies. 
Neighborliness. The good old days. The Philan- 
thropic Society. i 


The Established Church. We all went to meeting 
once. Seating the meeting. The pews. *«Slam, 
bang!" Singing. "Lining** the hymns. The 
psalm tunes. We build a town house. 17 


Sentiment. A unique Memorial. Bunker Hill he- 
roes. Our ** poorhouses.** How the fathers went 
to meeting. An Antiquary. Our fire engine. A 
fire ! Fire extinguishers. An ancient mansion, and 
she that dwells therein. 33 


Our hermits. Why should there be hermits ? Draw- 
backs to the life. ** Leather French." Dr. Jones, 
his cabin, his love, his ballad. Charley Kanont. 
His sad death. 53 


Enter the Autocrat. The scene changes. The Hotel 
Dieu. I am passive. A Triad. Evangeline gives 
help. Santa Filomena. Howells, and his book. 
The Breakfast- Table. Longfellow's Christus. 
Cheerful Yesterdays, Chad wick' sCi'^^;///?^. The 
-Doctor's talk. A door opens. 73 


Whither ? Two human forces. The mother's line. 
Boston atmosphere. The map of New Jersey. 
Balmy breezes. The Gulf Stream. Absecon Island. 
The City by the Sea. Tourists. A boardwalk. 
A beach. An awakening. Convalescence. 91 


A distant railway. Cowper's letter-carrier. The 
Cranford carrier. The Post Office. Many chil- 
dren. A mild excitement. Our Town House. 
Our social activities in it. Our Fair. Old Home 
Week. 1 1 ? 



The Cranford Public Library. The Antiquary. A 
centennial address. The first settler. What the 
first settler saw. Our inheritance. My cheerful 
hearth. 129 


My Mansion. The builder. The substantial build- 
ing. Ancestors. The chimney. The various 
rooms. The fireplaces and cranes. Generations of 
men in the Mansion. The present owner. The 
learned calm. The books. 139 


Young entertain old. An original and beautiful cus- 
tom. A gathering of rocking-chairs. The minister 
and his parish. Can we all be suited ? A thrifty 
bargain for preaching. The ** Holy Catholic 
Church." What Dr. Channing thought. A uni- 
fying influence. Creeds and political platforms. 
We work together and bury our differences. 
"Aunt Hannah" in the choir. She ''waited 
patiently." The result. 155 


The Sabbath of the fathers. The unornamental 
meeting-room. The preparation on Saturday. 
Keeping the Sabbath. Tedious services. The 


"long prayer." The subject changed. The ac- 
cess to Cranford. The difficulties in coming. The 

possibilities in going. The Postmaster and the 
Editor. The telephone. 171 

A cold night. The ''hottle" in the fireplace. Flip 
and toddy. The winding paths. Our cooper- 
shops. Our lakes. A silver wedding. Jerusalem 
the Golden. The ways of our young folks. A 
softly whispered story. How we in\dte our friends 
to our fireside. Our Poorhouse given up. When 
are we rich? Women's fashions. 187 


Four brothers. Some considerable families. Every- 
body busy. Strawberries. Some ''mysteries." 
Hie jacet. Robinson Crusoe. Some questions. 
*'The bitter end." Our doctor. Work under 
Colonial rooftrees. We have no tavern. Our Pub- 
lic Library. Its influence. An ancient ''Literary 
Fund." My fire goes out ! 207 

Wordsworth to His Book. 227 


The Main Street of Cranford Frontispiece 


In a Cranford Attic 

The Bunker Hill Memorial Stone 36 

The Cranford Town Pump and Wanamaker's 44 

A Cottage at the Roadside 50 

The Post Office in Macy's 118 
Harvesting Corn by Great-Grandchildren of 

the First Settlers 136 

A Colonial Mansion 142 

My Mansion 152 
The Cranford Meeting-House and Town Hall .158 

Some Cranford China 176 

Long Pond, where we have Picnics 192 
Where the Silver Wedding was, near where the 

First Settler lived 194 

On the Road to Pine Hill 200 

Feeding THE Chickens AT Cranford 212 

Corn -Husking at Cranford 220 

From photographs by Addiz Eastman and C. M. Fletcher. 


The wind is roistering out of doors. 
My windows shake and my chimney roars ; 
My Elmwood chimneys seem crooning to me. 
As of old, in their moody, minor key. 
And out of the past the hoarse wind blows. 
As I sit in my arm-chair and toast my toes. 


/ am not one who much or oft delight 
To season my fireside with personal talk 
Of friends, who live within an easy walk. 
Or neighbours, daily, weekly, in my sight. 

Better than such discourse doth silence long. 
Long, barren silence, square with my desire ; 
To sit without emotion, hope, or aim. 
In the loved presence of my cottage-fire. 
And listen to the flapping of the fame. 
Or kettle whispering its faint undersong, 



LET the wind roar ! 
I sit comfortable before my winter 
fire in my winter home and look from 
the window upon the icy streets with a 
content that is not disturbed even when 
the treacherous sidewalk trips up my 
venturesome city friends and lands them 
on their backs in dismay ! 

My thoughts are not upon ice, nor 
snow, nor windy streets. I am warmed 
inwardly by memories of summer in 
general, and of particular summers in 


^^e &XM of {gtaut"^ 

My Cranford. The shady lanes, the sil- 
very lakes, the hammocks and chairs 
under the maples, the quiet and peace 
of the paths through the woods and of 
the serpentine roads and expanded views 
spread out at our feet without the labor 
of mountain-climbing, the leisurely hay- 
makers in fields every one of which is 
moulded by nature on Hogarth's line 
of beauty; all these crowd my mind and 
warm the cockles of my heart. It is 
June again. 

A soft haze veils the sun, the bees with 
drowsy hum 

Flit to the roses drooping in the heat. 

The rippling waters play, the scent of new- 
mown hay 

Floats in the breeze that wanders warm and 
sweet : 


(Kaiftoa^ ^x0t\ixUx& 

The hush of summer noon is over all, 
A sudden burst of song — the wild birds* 
loving call ! 

" The axis of the earth sticks out vis- 
ibly through the centre of each and 
every town," saith the Autocrat of the 
Breakfast-Table, and it is distinctly vis- 
ible in My Cranford. 

Long ago, when railways began to 
disturb the peace of the world, our con- 
servative fathers decided that their quiet 
should not be broken by bells and whis- 
tles, that no factory should contaminate 
the pure air by its smoke, and that 
no "business" should bring bustle and 
throngs into its streets. We may go 
over Alston Moor to Shrewsbury and 
find this ; but that involves a drive of 
seven miles, and we make it a journey 


for all of a summer day. We put our 
horses and carriages up at some hospi- 
table stable, and if we ever become am- 
bitious to own those snorting means of 
locomotion, we shall find a garage for 
our automobiles for the day. 

That generation apparently held, 
with Billy Balmer, Christopher North's 
old boatman, that a railway was **a 
species of infernal machine for the 
purpose of promoting sudden death," 
and they certainly agreed with Words- 
worth when he asked, protesting against 
the projected " Kendall and Winder- 
mere railway," 

Is, then, no nook of English ground secure 
From rash assault? 

Can it be true, as Froude wrote, " In 

Out ^oBt Office 

every department of life we thank God 
that we are not Hke our fathers " ? 

We have two ** stores/' Wanamaker's 
and Macy's, where one may gossip and 
buy tobacco and lard and rakes and hoes ; 
and there is a post office in the corner 
of one of them, in which twice every 
day sundry men and boys, girls and wo- 
men, intrude to see if by chance a letter 
may not have drifted their way ; but 
for most of the bright days and the rainy 
days the streets before them are as quiet 
as the village graveyard that lies beside 
the big white meeting-house opposite 

In these two headquarters of gossip 
there are solemn and humorous debates, 
ranging from the state of the nation to 
the minute affairs of Cranford. Around 


(Tto ^mofein^ 

a warm stove in winter and around a cold 
one in summer, under a placard that 
warns all men to avoid smoking the 
cigars that are there sold, the veterans of 
the Civil War fight their battles anew, 
and wide-traveled local heroes retell for 
the hundredth time familiar legends of 
the storied charms of nature and human- 
ity in remote regions that, we are aston- 
ished to know, they have visited. The 
storekeeper himself ignores the warning 
against the use of the slow-burning weed, 
and the air is thick with its fumes. 
Again, if it be harvesting time, these 
resorts are empty. To-day, as my mind 
reviews summer experience, I figure but 
three boys and four men, and the place 
would appear as quiet as an asylum for 
the deaf and dumb, did I not hear one 

^^e ^(XXBon 

of the men say as he received his letter, 
" Pretty warm this morning ! " 

We have but one building for church 
services, and the pastor is really " the 
person' of the town," as Chaucer would 
say, so that Cranford is not disturbed, 
even as others, by the contentions of 
rival denominations, and this fact is the 
keystone of our united community life, 
on which I have more to say anon. 

The hamlet is honeycombed with 
*' societies,'' each of which has its social 
or benevolent sphere of activity, and 
lively they all are, as one would under- 
stand if he could read their proceedings, 
or even see a list of their titles. There 
is the G. A. R. and the D. A. R., the 

' If clerk may be pronounced dark, may not 
person be parson ? 


&ut ^ocktitB 

Y. M. C. L. and the Y. P. S. C. E., the 
Grange, the Woman's Club, the Philan- 
thropic Society (specifically, as though 
the others were not all of them ''phil- 
anthropic"), the Cent Institution, the 
King's Daughters, the Ladies' Reading 
and Charitable Society, the Junior Y. M. 
C. L., the W. C. T. U., the Woman's 
Board, and doubtless many more the 
names of which no man has ever heard 
uttered. These all have their meetings 
and their picnics, and they discuss the 
subjects that their names suggest as ap- 
propriate, as well as many that do not 
appear on the surface, such as literary 
current history, the books in the library, 
and, for all that a mere outsider may 
know, hats and cloaks and Butterick 


#iub^in«5 out (VLtxQ^oxB 

It has been said that there is less 
neighborHness and more philanthropy 
in the world now than there was a hun- 
dred years ago, but it seems to me that 
we in Cranford are sufficiently taken up 
with the doings of our neighbors, despite 
the long list showing the very general 
character of our good will. Does not 
Carlyle tell us that the study of our 
fellow men is the most interesting and 
fruitful of all, and Pope, did he not say 
that the proper study of mankind is 
man, and shall we of Cranford hesitate 
to follow such comforting counsel ? Are 
not these societies "neighborly''? We 
devoutly study our neighbors in love. 
The case might be otherwise, if we had 
a number of different churches separat- 
ing us into many cliques ; but as there is 

t^^t Cvanfotrb "timti^ 

only one, we all belong to all of these 
lively bodies. 

In the " good old days " of long ago, 
which some of us recall, there were 
husking-bees here and quiltings, barn- 
raisings and house-warmings, while 
now we have church suppers and fairs, 
meetings of lodges and granges, pic- 
nics, and campings-out, country weeks, 
and old home weeks, even excursions 
to the Pacific coast or to the conti- 
nent ; the teacher no longer " boards 
around," as he or she used to, and the 
Cranford Times, for we have a little 
paper, weekly beats with its kindly light 
upon cottage and mansion alike. There 
may be less privacy in some towns that 
might be mentioned, but in My Cran- 
ford we may be as private as we like. 


Out 3W &oom^ 

The gentle editor of our minute paper 
sheds not his journalistic light too freely 
upon our privacy. We may retire from 
it if we wish, and most of us do care to. 
In the days of yore we had to carry 
our grain to the mill to get our flour, 
but not so to-day. Wanamaker brings 
the product of Minnesota to our doors, 
and he brings also the beef of Chi- 
cago, the pickles of Providence, and 
the cereal foods from Niagara and Bat- 
tle Creek. We have no longer to put 
our beans into our big ovens of a Sat- 
urday night to avoid Sunday labor, as 
our fathers did, not so very long ago. 
Pittsburg sends them to our hands ready 
baked. We do not have to sit at the 
loom day by day to weave our home- 
spun for clothing ; better cloth is sent 


(Plt^ ©aXt?e0'0 ^ 

to us from the factories all around us, 
and at a smaller cost. We do not make 
our own shoes, as of yore, though be- 
nign old neighbor Dawes still stands 
ready to make them for us in his little 
shop with its weather-beaten sign ; for 
Lynn and Brockton can make a dozen 
pairs while he is getting his tools ready 
to begin. We of Cranford have a weak- 
ness for the product of the little shop, 
I confess, though we give it only that 
custom which is forced upon us by the 
exigencies of time and space. It makes 
no difference to Mr. Dawes ; he spends 
just as many hours in the little rooms, 
and looks just as busy and, I must add, 
just as happy, in spite of his fourscore 
and how many years, I can't say nor 


^ndtnt 3ntenfion0 

Our philanthropic societies are not so 
modern as some may perhaps be tempted 
to think. They do not all run back so 
far as a hundred years, but one of them 
dates from 1 80 1 . It is that one specially 
named in its charter, granted by the 
legislature, " T/ie Philanthropic Soci- 
ety/' What might its purpose be? It 
could only live in a place with but one 
church, for its object is to devise "some 
plan for the perpetual support of the 
gospel in the town." The legislature 
would have debated long in more mod- 
ern times before granting such a charter. 

Whether the Philanthropic Society 
ever actually supported the gospel in 
My Cranford I am not curious to in- 
quire. It stands as a lasting testimony 
to the good intentions of the fathers, 


©ei?ot^b CCev^^ 

and certainly the gospel has been sup- 
ported, and we have had a long line of 
devoted ministers, — 

Detached from pleasure, to the love of gain 
Superior, insusceptible of pride. 
And by ambitious longings undisturbed ; 
Men whose delight is where their duty leads 
Or fixes them ; whose least distinguished day 
Shines with some portion of that heavenly 

Which makes the Sabbath lovely in the sight 
Of blessed angels, pitying human cares. 


You may smile at the nasals of old Deacon Brown, 
Who followed by scent till he ran the tune down, — 
And dear Sister Green, with more goodness than grace. 
Rose and fell on the tunes as she stood in her place. 
And where ** Coronation^ ^ exultantly flows. 
Tried to reach the high notes on the tips of her toes ! 
To the land of the leal they have gone with their song. 
Where the choir and the chorus together belong. 
O, be lifted ye gates ! Let them hear them again, — 
Blessed song, blessed Sabbath, forever. Amen ! 

B. F. Taylor. 


IN the good old days when Inde- 
pendency or Congregationalism was 
the established church, there could, of 
course, be but one variety of religious 
worship in our town, and the people, 
who all paid for its support in their 
tax-bills, were under the legal sway of a 
single religious authority, whether they 
liked it or not, — and a rigid sway it 
was. How rigid it was is plainly shown 
by the action of the town in 1785, when 
one Spalding petitioned to have his es- 
tate exempt from the ministerial tax on 
the ground that he ** belonged to the 


€^t (mini0fet'0 €a\ 

Baptist denomination." Popular feeling 
was expressed clearly and emphatically 
when it was '^Foted, that the estate of 
Edward Spalding shall not be freed from 
minister's tax for the time past, present, 
or to come." And yet the town of Cran- 
ford assesses no " minister's tax " on Ed- 
ward's descendants nowadays. 

In those early days we built our first 
meeting-house in My Cranford. It was 
not of stone, like the houses of worship 
that we had left in the mother country. 
We had stone enough, to be sure, but 
there was also wood, and we found it 
convenient as well as temporarily pru- 
dent to use the more perishable material. 
We all went to meeting as well as paid 
for preaching in those days. It was a 
matter of principle, we liked to say. In 


)tCKt$ fot (^U 

time, too, we put up a second wooden 
building, and still later that needed to 
be changed for something better adapted 
to our wants or tastes. 

It was in 1 804 that we built our third 
meeting-house. We made special door- 
ways to the gallery of the women on 
the east, and to that of the men on the 
west. We erected seats for the four dea- 
cons and a communion-table on hinges 
below the high pulpit, and we arranged 
a series of free seats for the aged and the 
deaf, making sure that the men should 
have separate ones from the women, 
young or old. 

Every one was seated as he ought to 
be in those times, or at least as it was 
commonly supposed that he ought to 
be, in accord with the rigid established 


^tyi> ©oot0 

rules of social precedence. It was not 
only the deacons and the deaf, the girls 
and the boys, the fathers and the mo- 
thers, who were told where they might 
sit. Social distinctions were intricate, 
and they had to be carefully considered 
by a committee specially charged with 
that duty. It was known as the com- 
mittee to seat the meeting-house. Every 
one of us was expected to "appear be- 
fore the Lord," certainly, but we were 
not allowed to appear in any but the 
most discriminating and orderly fashion. 
Each pew (there were ninety-five of 
them, six feet long and five feet wide) 
had a painted and paneled door hung 
on hinges, so that the inmates could 
shut themselves up, if they wished, and 
be free from all intrusion. (It was not in 


^ (mu0feett^ ^aixitt 

Cranford, however, that when a stran- 
ger comfortably ensconced himself in 
the pew of a dignified dowager, she ap- 
proached the door and emphatically said 
to him, "I occupewthis pie ! '') Finally 
we topped each partition with an orna- 
mental balustrade. Inside there were 
hard, uncushioned seats on hinges ; for, 
like the Pharisee in the parable, we 
stood when we prayed, or rather when 
the minister prayed, and it was more con- 
venient to turn up the seats as we rose. 
When the minister said "Amen," we all 
dropped our seats back, and there was a 
slamming throughout the building that 
has been likened by warlike folk to "a 
musketry salute of a raw, poorly drilled 
militia company/' The younger we 
happened to be at the time, the more of 


&tcmix^ (^oatb0 

a slam our own particular seat was sure 
to make at the psychological moment. 

We had few conveniences in meeting- 
house or home, but there were two not 
known in churches at this day of in- 
vention. Some of our pews were fur- 
nished with flag-bottomed armchairs for 
the grandparents, and for the rest of us 
there usually were long, narrow " leaning 
boards," as they were called, intended to 
be placed conveniently lengthwise of 
the pews, in front of the occupants as 
they sat, upon which they might rest 
their weary heads, when they were too 
drowsy to pay good attention to the 
preaching that they professed to be 
exceedingly desirous to enjoy. 

The meeting-house was in the middle 
of things, and it still is. It houses the 


^ ^t(XU fotr (JU^etin^ 

Public Library and the Grange, as well as 
the Church, and thus gives the weight 
of its influence in more ways than one 
in favor of union and good fellow-feel- 
ing. How did this happen ? Most nat- 
urally. In the beginning the meeting- 
house was, as we know, the place for 
meeting, no matter for what good and 
orderly purpose we desired to come to- 
gether, and our social nature was well 
developed. It was not for worship alone, 
by any means, and it belonged to the 
town as a whole, as any church build- 
ing of an established order appropriately 
must. I think that we went rather to 
hear sermons and to sing hymns or 
psalms than to worship, if the truth were 
known, and doubtless many of us went 
from the remote corners of Cranford to 


^oC^mn ^in^itiij 

meet our kind, and therefore the build- 
ing was most properly called a meeting- 
house. One of my fellow townsmen 
plainly said, the other day, that our re- 
vered ancestors were no more pious than 
we are, but that in the days of ox-teams 
and poor roads they enjoyed their Sab- 
baths by going to meeting, in spite of 
the long sermons and the tedious rides 
in lumbering carts or on the back of a 

We went to this house, certainly to 
sing hymns for one thing, and the sing- 
ing was solemn, no doubt. There was no 
choir to perform the service for us, at 
least until the year 1767, when the town 
voted that " those persons who had taken 
pains to instruct themselves in sing- 
ing" might have special seats assigned 



;Simn5'' i%t ^^ntn 

to them. There is good authority for 
saying, in fact some of the grandfathers 
remember, that when a psalm was se- 
lected from Sternhold and Hopkins, or 
a hymn from Dr. Watts, it was slowly 
"lined'' by the minister or senior dea- 
con, a line, or at most two lines, at a time, 
and sung by the congregation as thus 
delivered from the pulpit or the deacons' 

Hail, Sternhold, then ; and Hopkins, hail ! 

" Amen ! " saith Cowper, contrasting 
these "poets" with others of his age, 
who allowed " flattery, folly, lust " to 
" employ the pen." It is difficult to sym- 
pathize fully with this exultant praise, 
or with Cowper's dispraise of " Butler's 
wit. Pope's numbers, Prior's ease." 


Z^t (modern ^t^h 

When the reader had given us from 
the book " Hark ! from the tombs a 
doleful sound/' or, " My drowsy powers, 
why sleep ye so?'' he was expected 
to take a rest till the congregation had 
sung those lines before he read the next. 
By such means was a due solemnity in- 
sured in the olden times. In many a 
house of worship the congregation is 
now sophisticated and prefers the oper- 
atic performances of the modern meet- 
ing-house quartette. 

The long, quaint words, the humdrum rhyme, 
The verse that reads like prose, 

Are relics of a sturdier time 

Than modern childhood knows. 

The psalm tunes of the Puritan ; 
The hymns that dared to go 

&H U0 not (TUocft 

Down shuddering through the abyss of man. 
His gulfs of conscious woe ; 

That scaled the utmost height of bliss 
Where the veiled seraph sings, 

And worlds unseen brought down to this 
On music's mighty wings. 

The rapt strain hallowed the blue arch 

Above the settler's farm. 
And held him in his forest march 

Closer to God's right arm. 

And when we sing some hard old hymn 

That rings like flint on steel. 
Let not a shade of mockery dim 

The flame its words reveal. 

Once upon a time, more than half a 
century ago now, there arose a desire on 
the part of the church people to own 


tilt C^xixc^ in t^t @k 

their place of worship, which up to that 
day had been, as we know, the pro- 
perty of the town as a whole. Some one, 
too, had begun to speak with disrespect 
of the " old slam-bang meeting-house 
and pigpen pews." Perhaps some one 
had traveled abroad, or had been to the 
city. Therefore it carrie to pass that, after 
due consideration and long discussion, 
that portion of the building needful for 
religious services was formally given up 
by the town and granted to the church, 
— that is, as the legal document on 
record recites, " the upper part of the 
old meeting-house in said town, to a 
point nine feet and nine inches from the 
lower floor thereof," was so granted ; 
thus leaving the church in the air, with, 
it is true, access to the earth by way of 


Out ©um6^(g^fC 

stairways in the "belfry porch," and 
with " eight hundred and sixty-four 
square feet'' on the lower floor. In this 
manner was New England economy 
served, and the church was put where 
it ever should be, above the things of 
the earth, and pointing, like its spire, 
heavenwards. After fourscore years had 
passed, and after thorough discussion, a 
town house separate from the meeting- 
house was erected, and it is a creditable 
addition to the architecture of the ham- 
let. It bears aloft a good clock to give us 
the proper time o' day, but, alas, its bell 
strikes irregularly, and sometimes quite 
intermits its duties, in which case we 
call it our dumb-bell, and wish some 
magician might be found to loosen its 
tongue, as the great Graham Bell taught 


^impCe ^ox^Ut^txB 

the human tongue of the dumb to give 

No seers were they, but simple men ; 
Its vast results the future hid : 
The meaning of the work they did 

Was strange and dark and doubtful then. 


How struggles with the tempests swells 
That warning of tumultuous bells ! 
The fire is loose ! and frantic knells 

Throb faster and faster. 
As tower to tower confusedly tells 

News of disaster. 



I HOPE that I have proved that My 
Cranford, though peaceful, is not 
dead. Businesslike as its people are, and 
careful as they are in the management 
of spiritual things, they are by no means 
devoid of sentiment. Is sentiment nowa- 
days left to our young girls and poets ? 
Here on our Common, directly in front 
of the meeting-house, there is a unique 
monument to the sacred memory of 
the men who went from these farms 
to risk their lives for the protection of 
their firesides. What is this monument, 
so different from all others ? It lies cov- 


^ Unique QUemonaf 

ered with snow to-day, but we can 
brush that away, and bring its face to 
the light. It is as modest as the men it 
recalls to memory. Here is a flat slab, 
supported on one side by a large cobble- 
stone, with a tablet of bronze on it bear- 
ing the names of the men who went 
at a minute's notice to Bunker Hill and 
stopped on Cambridge Common. 

Is the stone unmeaning to the casual 
passer-by ? It need not be. It carries 
us back to that April day, one hundred 
and thirty odd years gone, when a mes- 
senger entered My Cranford shouting, 
" The British are upon us ! They are 
killing our men ! Our wives and our 
homes are threatened ! To arms ! " It 
tells us of three brothers, who were at 
the moment prying this stone from its 


eac§ took ^xB ^Mt 

bed, who dropped their tools and, true 
to their engagement as Minute Men, 
took up their march to the field of 
danger. Sentiment has not died in 

To them was life a simple art 

Of duties to be done, 
A game where each man took his part, 

A race where all must run. 

The stone has been held in honor 
all the years, and now it repeats for new 
centuries the story of heroes who once 
trod these streets, who once tilled these 
fields, who once entered the doors of 
this meeting-house and listened to the 
sermons that ancient divines were wont 
to give them as stimulants to their god- 
liness and their patriotism. The stone 


@n 6xpfo0ion 

carries us back to the days that tried 
men's hearts, and we see the Reverend 
Daniel Emerson's son Ralph " drilling 
the matross/' as the cannon that gave 
him his death-w^ound explodes and car- 
ries grief into the hearts of Cranford. 
His tombstone tells us that 

We drop apace, — 
By nature some decay 
And some the gusts of fortune sweep away. 

The men of that period have, it is 
true, been swept away, but their mem- 
ory remains in My Cranford. Their 
meeting-house reminds me as I read its 
story that at an early day, when the 
citizens paying taxes numbered twenty- 
nine, its predecessor was erected, and 
that when the number of seventy-nine 
was reached, a second one was put up 

[38 ] 

(Tloon ^ou0e0 

to replace it. It was a simple thing in 
those days to build a meeting-house, 
for there was no elaboration, no heat- 
ing arrangement even to be provided 
for. There were small "foot stoves/' 
which the dames carried and replen- 
ished the coals of at the " noon houses/' 
so called, near by. The men doubtless 
warmed themselves by exercise in the 
horse-sheds, and they cheered the inner 
man with cider that two of the deacons 
had stored in a covered cellar made for 
the purpose. It is reported that some 
of the noon houses were managed on 
the club principle, the members sup- 
plying in rotation the cider that was 
necessary to quench the inordinate thirst 
of the men of heroic days. 

In 1690 the town of Stonington, in 



the province of Connecticut, voted to 
" build near the Church a small house 
fourteen feet square with seven foot 
posts and fireplace for Mr. Noyes to 
warm himself in cold weather between 
meetings," according to the history of 
the First Congregational Church in that 
town. We built our noon houses for 
the laity. Doubtless our parsons were 
permitted to warm themselves in them, 
though the parsonage was near by ; but 
we never gave them a noon house by 

The horse-sheds in early times were 
narrow, for the older members of the 
congregation came on horseback, long 
lines of them. The children walked, 
and carried their shoes and stockings in 
their hands until they got to a place 


&on^ ^tx\)xUB 

near the meeting-house, when they 
stopped and put them on their bare feet, 
to remain until the service was over, a 
long, long time, for it is estimated that 
they spent hardly less than four hours 
each Sunday in the house of worship. 
The way must have been trying to both 
young and old, for there were no roads in 
Cranford until after the Revolutionary 

I love to sit here in comfort and 
think of the hard times the ancient 
folk had in My Cranford, and to re- 
flect that they did not call them hard. 
My blaze has gone, and the andirons 
stand before me in the magnifying dusk 
like sentinels of the heroic days. I must 
stir the coals and put on another bit 
of maple from the Cranford woods. 


3uic^ ^actB ftom ©v^ ^^5^0 

In my walks about the old thorp I 
meet the Antiquary of the place, who 
longs to stop me to tell me stories of 
the ancient times. An antiquary in a 
place like Cranford is the real thing. 
There are no airs about him. He lives 
like other men in his weather-beaten 
mansion, with his barn near by, and its 
acres of apple orchard and mowing 
land spreading out on every side. He 
goes to the meeting-house of a Sunday, 
and after the service he drops into the 
Public Library and scans some of its 
mustiest volumes, — books that his 
young neighbors never see, and that 
his ancient friends have long ago for- 
gotten. From their dry chapters he 
squeezes juicy facts that sustain him 
when memories of the parson's ser- 


(§ ^mofe^f^00 ©n^in^ 

mons have become dim. You can't 
touch him without getting your share 
of the inspiration that the volumes on 
the bottom shelf distill for him, as he 
lovingly turns their time-stained pages. 

There is a fire engine on exhibition 
in Cranford, but in the absence of fires 
it is used, so far as I have observed, for 
the peaceful purpose of clearing stagnant 
wells ; and very useful it is. One little 
city visitor, who was told that it was a 
fire engine, asked at once, ** Where is 
the smoke ?" She had never seen such a 
thing drawn by hand through the streets 
of her home. 

I said, "in the absence of fires,'' but 
alas, while I was musing the fire burned ! 
Perhaps some locofoco match left in the 


eUctncxt^ 5aite 

building by a former owner was rubbed 
into vitality after a sixty years' sleep by 
an active rat, child of the rats of an 
earlier century. It was in the middle of 
a dark March night. Wanamaker had 
connected the ancient building with the 
rest of the world by means of Mr. Bell's 
telephone, and one could expect that 
an alarm would be easily and promptly 
given to the men who were accustomed 
to bring into action the smokeless fire 
engine that had reposed unused for so 
many years in the small public build- 
ing opposite Wanamaker's, — but, no. 
Electricity is a good and quick-moving 
servant when all conditions are right, 
but it is of no more use than the un- 
aided human voice in spreading an 
alarm when its wires are crossed, or 


"txxppxno^ <&ixt^mx<X0m 

burned off, and burned off they proved 
to be when Wanamaker and his neigh- 
bors tried to call for help on that event- 
ful night. 

Pray, did you ever assist at a fire in the 
country, where the engine is worked 
by untrained man-power, and the only 
water is found, like glorious truth, at 
the bottom of a well or cistern? Did 
you ever witness the neighborly enthu- 
siasm that caused every man to get in 
the way of the usefulness of every other 
helper; when the engine, long unused 
in actual emergency, might need oiling 
at every joint, or repairs at some essential 
and unexpected place? 

If you have not you will be helpless, 
O reader, to appreciate the events of the 
cold night that thrilled every neighbor, 


(^ j^ocofoco anb a (Hat 

that forced the family in Wanamaker's 
to jump for life into the deep snow, 
and that left, when daylight revealed the 
scene to us, only an empty cellar, and a 
pile of sawdust that saved the ice that 
was to have cooled the "soft" drink- 
ables that Wanamaker dispensed. The 
ancient timbers were as tinder that the 
flames cheerfully licked up in sardonic 
glee, and as the neighbors stood around 
that morning there was not one who 
did not feel in his inmost soul that his 
home would likewise be carried off if 
attacked by a locofoco and a rat. We 
have a pond on an elevation that Love 
Lane has often led us to, and now a 
committee is formed to discuss the sub- 
ject of bringing the water down to our 
level as a protection from future danger, 


@ IVMtt of 'txmt 

and, incidentally, to enable us all to en- 
joy the luxury of a bathroom such as 
the parson has been furnished with by 
his loving parishioners, such as two 
other members of the flock have sup- 
plied themselves with. There are fire 
extinguishers in one house and another 
now, and it may be many years ere 
even they will be necessary, for the last 
previous fire in Cranford occurred in the 
preceding century. Really, we think it 
a waste of time to practice the use of 
appliances of that sort, or to keep our 
engine in a state of efficiency when it is 
called for only once or twice in a hun- 
dred years ! So we set the extinguisher 
on a shelf behind a door, and allow the 
fire engine to continue to enjoy an orna- 
mental existence. 


@ ^atxxixxc^ixt (mansion 

As one walks from the centre of 
My Cranford towards Alston Moor, 
the road makes a turn around one of 
the most patriarchal houses in the old 
town. It has an entrance and many win- 
dows on each side that is presented to 
the passer-by. For how many genera- 
tions the mansion has stood on this 
corner, I know not. At one time a 
fence kept off intruders, or seemed to 
be intended to serve such a purpose, but 
those who have followed the discussions 
of the freemen in town meeting assem- 
bled know that its design was rather to 
protect the premises from the approach 
of wandering domestic animals, which 
are no longer permitted to range at 
their own sweet will. 

There was once a protecting gateway 


€^t MinU"^ Coxn^x 

giving access to the entrance, by way 
of a modest pergola. Long ago the 
fence fell away, being no more a neces- 
sity, and now the visitor may walk un- 
opposed to the pergola and knock at 
the door. But knocking is not necessary, 
for the Kindly Corner always shows the 
sole inhabitant of the great house sitting 
under the shade of her porch, and evi- 
dently ready to welcome any one who 
happens to approach. 

"Always" — no, "often," for Miss 
Harrington is of a social disposition, 
and visits her neighbors frequently, en- 
livening their gatherings with her wis- 
dom, which flows with great freedom, 
and is as entertaining as it is wise. Why 
Miss Harrington chooses to live by her- 
self in the great house, no one can guess. 


(^ ^iou0 ®ut^ 

One by one the brothers and sisters of 
the large family of which she was a 
member have died or been enticed away 
from My Cranford, and Miss Harring- 
ton is left alone. Doubtless she thinks 
it her pious duty to stand guard forever 
at the hearthstone of generations that 
have gone, and well she performs it. 
Her mind seems an open book, for she 
gives out in conversation much that few 
are capable of giving ; but there are re- 
cesses into which no one in Cranford can 
penetrate, and her heart, kindly in every 
expression, has depths that no inquisitive 
neighbor nor loving friend can fathom. 
Miss Harrington and her big house give 
us a mystery that adds to the interest 
of village life. As we pass the great 
mansion we are apt to meet the genius 



of the place, who has some wise or 
witty word always ready for young or 
old. The blinds are closed over the 
long rows of windows ; the doors, too, 
are unopened, — all except the one that 
Miss Harrington finds necessary for her 
exit and ingress; the extensive outbuild- 
ings show plainly that they are unused, 
and the air of mystery that surrounds 
everything is deep and impenetrable. 
The village knows that a bright intel- 
lect is there, but why its possessor puts 
any barrier between herself and her kind 
it may ask, but no reply ever comes. The 
poet, who has enlightened us before, 
suggests a reply : — 


Great gains are mine ; for thus I live remote 
From evil speaking; rancor, never sought, 


(Bveat 6ain0 

Comes to me not, malignant truth or lie; 
Hence have I genial seasons, hence have I 
Smooth passions, smooth discourse, and joy- 
ous thought. 


Come, all young people far and near, 
A lamentation you shall hear 
Of a young man and his True Love, 
Whom he adored and prized above 
All riches. 

Local Ballad, 


IT is hardly to be conceived that a 
reputable village could preserve an 
enduring respectability without being 
able to count a hermit within its limits. 
My Cranford is no exception to the 
general statement. To be more exact, 
Cranford has had two hermits. I never 
saw a hermit, and I fancy that the sight 
would not attract me. I have read of 
them in prose and verse, but I dare say 
that the accounts have been colored by 
the license that even prose writers in- 
dulge in occasionally. I have seen a man 
in a city who might well have been a 


^ ^etmif (Room 

hermit, and who would have developed 
into one under proper treatment. He 
did not dwell in a dale, like Goldsmith's 
hermit, and he did not make 

Prayer all his business, all his pleasure praise, 

like the hermit of that other English 
poet. He dwelt all alone, surely, and 
his abode was never entered by persons 
of inquisitive nature. He had books and 
papers, and dust gathered on them until 
he died. 

The poet is certainly your seer, and 
a hundred years ago Wordsworth de- 
scribed the place : — 

Scattered was the floor, 
And, in like sort, chair, window seat, and 

With books, maps, fossils, withered plants 

and flowers, 


T)?^^ Semite? 

And tufts of mountain moss ; mechanic tools 
Lay intermixed with scraps of paper, — some 
Scribbled with verse; a broken angling-rod 
And shattered telescope, together linked 
By cobwebs, stood within a dusty nook ; 
And instruments of music, some half-made. 
Some in disgrace, hung dangling from the 

Why there should be hermits, I am 
quite unable to say. Why should any one 
wish to live like ParnelFs hermit, for 
example ? Listen : — 

Far in a wild, unknown to public view. 
From youth to age a reverend hermit grew ; 
The moss his bed, the cave his humble cell. 
His food the fruits, his drink the crystal 

well : 
Remote from men, with God he passed his 


Is the picture attractive — except as po- 

3n a Caue 

etry ? Would not a cot in the country, 
or even a flat in the city, be preferable 
to a bed of moss in a cave ? Fruits are 
certainly good in their w^ay, and water 
from a crystal v^ell cannot be excelled 
— if it has been analyzed. 

Reflect on the circumstances of the 
case a little further. No way has been 
found to warm a cave in a wild un- 
known, and there is no cellar there, nor 
any attic. Ventilation is possible, but it 
is usually imperfect, and how could a 
doctor be called if rheumatic pains were 
to be developed by the underground 
dampness? for even hermits must be 
subject to human ailments. Then a con- 
stant fruit diet might bring on indiges- 
tion, and even the apothecary, like the 
world, would be remote. 


&OMt^ ^OUV0 

There are many other drawbacks to 
the Hfe of a hermit. His experience 
does not usually turn out so happily as 
that of Goldsmith's " gentle hermit of 
the dale." His larder would, from the 
nature of the case, be inadequately and 
irregularly supplied; his kitchen would 
be inconvenient; his table furniture 
poor, if hermits have table furniture ; 
his clothing scant and disreputable, and 
open to attacks from both heat and cold. 
His mornings, afternoons, and evenings 
would be lonely, though he might enjoy 
that as giving him opportunity for undis- 
turbed reflection. Still, suffering must 
be his usual lot, and a forlorn death his 
inevitable end. Can you make the pic- 
ture charming? 

Yet there continue to be hermits, 


&tcd^tx 5tenc§ 

and I have just said that My Cranford 
had two. There must be a strong reason 
for adopting the hermit's Hfe ; or, per- 
chance, it is adopted because reason has 
been dethroned. Alas, that is the secret ! 
The poor hermit has had his reason 
unseated. He has been the victim of a 
shght by man, — a slight in imagination 
or in truth, — or he has suffered from 
the loss of a woman's love, and what suf- 
fering can be more severe than that ? 

There was Leather French, a harm- 
less, simple - minded, poverty - stricken 
man, of feeble understanding, who was 
not troubled by love, but fell out with 
work, and being destitute of family or 
friends, betook himself at last to the 
distant wastes of Maine and lived the 
lonely life until freed by death. His 


^auntt^ ©t^am0 

memory has been preserved in lines that 
are part of a little volume of poems 
printed in Bangor. They begin, — 

You have haunted the dreams of my sleep. 
Leather French, 
You have troubled me often and long ; 
And now to give rest to the waves of my 
Leather French, let me sing you a song. 

But "the song" offers us no interest- 
ing facts, and may well be skipped. It 
inquires about the " old leather garb 
that you wore, Leather French,'' and 
many other things, but it gives no in- 
timation of particular interest to the 
world, and so we may guess that there 
is nothing to be learned, except that the 
hero lived a long, poverty-stricken life, 
and died in the Poorhouse in Maine, 

t^t ^aUcCi> of ®tr* ^0^0 

there being no such place in My Cran- 

The other hermit. Dr. Jones, had a 
more complete and more romantic re- 
cord. He is reputed to have been the 
son of a wealthy British military officer, 
a native of England. There is " poetry " 
connected with Jones, too; Jones wrote 
it himself. It was in ballad form, and 
was pretty well known in Cranford, 
both because it took the fancy of boys 
and girls, and because Jones often sang 
it in his lone cabin in strenuous tones. 
He had a little preserve where he cul- 
tivated fruits and herbs and flowers, and 
lived alone in the usual fashion of her- 
mits, but wandered from place to place 
on occasion, clad in a long plaid dress- 
ing-gown, and topped by a hat of gen- 


(K ^oun^ jS^ab^ i^xntb 

erous brim, which was draped with a 
mourning weed. He was a man of some 
education, and of a ready wit. The 
Antiquary, who is familiar with the en- 
during records in the acre behind the 
meeting-house, has shown me one com- 
posed by this herb doctor, and placed 
upon a stone of some magnitude among 
those that blazon the virtues of former 
inhabitants of Cranford. Jones had met 
repulse by the parents of the maiden of 
his choice, added to opposition from his 
own father and mother, — 

Because she was of low degree 
And came of a poor family, — 

and after the young lady had pined and 
given way in the unequal struggle with 
death, Jones 


Dressed in black from top to toe. 
And after that distracted run. 
And so forever was undone, 
And wandered up and down alone. 

The record that Jones caused to be 
placed on his tombstone is — 



Who departed this life July 4th, 1796, in the 
65 year of his age. 

In youth he was a scholar bright. 
In learning he took great delight, 
He was a Major's only son, 
It was for love he was undone. 

Misery repeats itself. We recall the lines 
of Wordsworth : — 


Untec^uiteb &ovt 

At morn or eve, in your retired domain. 
Perchance you not unfrequently have marked 
A Visitor, in quest of herbs and flowers; 
Too deHcate employ, as would appear. 
For one, who, though of drooping mien, had 

From Nature's kindliness received a frame 
Robust as ever rural labor bred. 

The Solitary answered : Such a Form 
Full well I recollect. We often crossed 
Each other's path ; but, as the intruder seemed 
Fondly to prize the silence which he kept. 
And I as willingly did cherish mine. 
We met and passed like shadows. I have 

From my good Host, that being crazed in 

By unrequited love, he scaled the rocks. 
Dived into caves, and pierced the matted 



C^axk^ Manont 

In hope to find some virtuous herb of power 
To cure his malady. 

I said that there have been two her- 
mits in My Cranford during its history, 
but I might have counted Mr. Kanont as 
a third. He had father and mother and 
sister and brother, besides other branches 
on his genealogical tree, but one by one 
they dropped away until he found him- 
self alone in his home, just a few steps 
from Miss Harrington's Kindly Corner. 
It was a pleasant home. The dwelling 
stood on one side of the road, with the 
buildings that a homestead usually in- 
cludes opposite. 

Charley Kanont, as he was affection- 
ately called, lived on alone, at first from 
force of circumstances, and then from a 
lack of power to resist the desire that 


T2?^m i0 Ci}(Kxit^V' 

came over him to be quite undisturbed. 
His incursions upon the diplomatic de- 
baters who sat on Macy's hard benches, 
smoking their peaceful pipes and dis- 
cussing ancient and modern history, be- 
came more and more infrequent; but 
this attracted little attention for a while. 
There came a day, however, when it 
was asked, '* Where is Charley?" and 
one neighbor and another went to his 
lonely abode to try to discover the rea- 
son for his absence. No satisfaction did 
they ever get, and in time they ceased 
their inquiries. To this day the reason 
has been sought in vain. 

Passers-by saw fences grow old, and 
fall down. The shingles on the roofs 
decayed, and it was plain that they 
no longer formed any obstacle to the 


T3?affo pU in 

entrance of the rains of summer or the 
snow and ice of our long winter. Win- 
dows lost their panes and rattled as the 
autumn winds blew upon them from 
the north. The outbuildings that pro- 
tected the sleighs and wagons and farm 
implements decayed. Roofs and walls 
fell in, and the implements themselves 
grew rusty and useless. Ploughshares 
dropped away from ploughs ; felloes no 
longer made connection with spokes ; 
shafts and whiffle-trees lost all logical re- 
lation to one another ; cushions rotted 
in the seats of the wagons, and ruin 
spread throughout. When window- 
frames fell in, Charley shivered a little 
more, but made no effort to repair them. 
When the cold in the stable was too 
severe for the horse and the chickens, 

they were brought into closer relation- 
ship with their owner, and finally found 
themselves housed under the roof that 
erstwhile sheltered the Kanont house- 

Hermits have dust and webs of the 
busy spider around them and they care 
not, but history and fable tell us not of 
the introduction of livestock into their 
cells; and yet this is what happened 
to Charley as Time with its remorseless 
tooth wore down one of his surround- 
ings after another. 

While I was cheerfully rejoicing be- 
fore my winter fire, while the men and 
women of My Cranford were happy 
in their winter pleasures, the crisis was 
approaching step by step. Finally the 
word came to the village authorities 


©xttreme0 QWeet 

that Charley needed help. The chief 
man of them all went to the desolate 
home. There, helpless and in pain, lay- 
Charley, his horse and his fowls near 
his bedside, and there he breathed his 
last without a word to tell why he had 
lived in the midst of civilization, and 
surrounded by comfortable homes, in a 
condition of squalor that could hardly 
be equaled in the slums of our cities. 

Extremes meet. On the Kindly 
Corner we have here the refinement 
of loneliness, the inexplicable and un- 
necessary separation of the well-to-do 
from relations and friends, and near by 
the sad decadence of the neighbor, once 
prosperous and happy in the midst of 
home joys, who lost connection volun- 
tarily with everything that humankind 


TȤaf ^^ou5^feT 

usually prizes, and died in the com- 
pany of sympathy, it is true, but in the 
presence of official solicitude, — good 
in My Cranford, but often as cold as 
Charity is proverbially represented to be. 
Did anything bring to him in his last 
moments sweet memories of days long 
past, when a happy family circle dwelt 
in the cheerless room in which his life 
was ebbing away ? 
The poet says, — 

Some there are 
Who, drawing near the final home, and much 
And daily longing that the same were 

Would rather shun than seek the fellow- 
Of kindred mould. 

Who can tell the thoughts sad or light- 


®eficiou0 ^ofifube 

some that come to the shipwrecked one 
as he is engulfed forever ? Who knows 
how often the lonely hermit looks back 
with yearning to the joys that, per- 
chance in a hasty gust of passion, he 
one day forswore ? We may ask, but no 
reply can come to us from the world 
to which he has gone ! 

Fair Quiet, have I found thee here, 
And Innocence, thy sister dear? 
Mistaken long, I sought you then 
In busy companies of men. 
Your sacred plants, if here below. 
Only among these plants will grow. 
Society is all but rude 
To this delicious solitude. 

t^t ^o(d <S)ku 

Ah, me ! the Prison House of Pain ! What lessons there 
are bought ! 
Lessons of a sublimer strain 
Than any elsewhere taught. 
Amid its loneliness and gloom, grave meanings grow more 

For to no Earthly dwelling-place seems God so strangely 
near ! 

Florence Earle Coates. 


HERE steps in an Autocrat. It is 
my Doctor ! My fireside medi- 
tations must for a time be intermitted. 
Suddenly I am carried to a chamber of 
quiet far other than my desire or my 
imagination had ever before brought to 
my mind. What shall I say ? The scene 
has changed. I meditate on another 
phase of the quiet life. 

This is the Hotel Dieu, — the House 
of God. I lie in my bed, with two 
ample windows on each side of it that 
throw the light of day upon me, by 
which I can read and write, for that is 


(§ &m\> ^oxm 

all that I can do, except talk. I may not 
move, for movement brings more pain, 
and I am here to try to escape that. I am 
in the tower. My visitors, who bring 
me flowers and fruit, look out of the 
four windows into the treetops, and tell 
me that I am in a conservatory, and so 
I am. 

I know not who may occupy the 
other rooms. My door opens upon a 
passage, and I see the white - capped 
ministers of mercy flitting by, but where 
they go or why they go I can only 
guess. Once I saw men carrying a limp 
form covered with a sheet, and I could 
imagine that a patient not yet free from 
the ether was passing from an operat- 
ing-room. One day a visitor spoke of 
an ambulance that stopped at the door, 



and another told me of a friend who 
had suffered from a fall and might be 
near me ; but for all particular know- 
ledge of who my neighbors are I might 
as well be in another world, so great is 
the reticence of those who care for me. 
Gossip is unknown. 

I am passive. Mine it is only to be 
served. If pain can be luxurious, this is 
the luxury of pain. Others care for all 
my needs. My very thoughts are an- 
ticipated. Thrice each day Evangeline, 
who carefully watches me from eight 
to eight, brings me my necessary sus- 
tenance, and it is not mere "nourish- 
ment." I am one of the few patients 
who may eat what normal human beings 
crave, for my pain is not to be permitted 
to lessen my physical vigor. 


€^t txxcib 

There must be some authority that 
controls and directs an establishment 
that moves with the smoothness and 
regularity that is shown here. That is 
inevitable. There is a Triad, I soon 
found, that is all-powerful, and under it 
there are those white -capped damsels 
who go so noiselessly from room to 
room, carrying comfort and good cheer 
to the sufferers on the beds. 

It fell to my lot to be under the 
special charge of that one of the Triad 
whom I knew as Saxon Edith with the 
golden hair. She it was who stood by 
my bedside when the doctor came. 
She took the doctor's directions, and 
was responsible for carrying them out. 
When the imperturbable surgeon sought 
to allay my suffering by giving more and 

[ 78 ] 

€^t ^utc^ton 

sharper darts of pain, her face was suf- 
fused with signs of sympathy that I knew 
were not professional, — they were hu- 
man, and I cannot forget them. To 
her the sufferer was not a " case," but a 
fellow mortal. Doubtless this is true of 
the surgeon, too, but his hand could 
not tremble, and he could not permit 
sympathy to interfere with the steady 
management of the instrument he held. 
I lie here day after day, almost in the 
same position, for, as I said, movement 
means increase of pain. I may read, I 
may write, but I cannot reach my books 
or my papers ! The table that bears my 
breakfast is equal to the support of my 
heavy books, and it may be put at an 
angle convenient for reading. Evange- 
line — she of the raven tresses — will 


^atita ^xtomtna 

bring to me by daylight any book that 
I wish ; and from eight at night to eight 
in the morning Santa Filomena — " the 
lady with the lamp " — will help me as 
long as I wish to read after she has 
touched the button and given me the 
light ; that is, as long as I am permitted 
to read by night. To these twain I am 
indebted for comfort by sunlight and by 
electric light. I am conscious that I am 
growing lazy in this luxury of pain. 
What can a mere man grow to when he 
is not permitted to do anything for him- 
self, when he cannot lift a book from 
the table, take a step, or even arrange 
the papers that are allowed to lie pro- 
miscuously on his bed? 

In order to keep my mind active in 
an agreeable way I have read books that 



all readers on this side of the Atlantic 
must be interested in, — books by my 
own friends and acquaintances as far as 
possible, and about men and women 
whom I have known. First on my list 
stands that frank expression of his kind- 
liness by Howells, about my own friends 
as well as his, which he calls Literary 
Friends and Acquaintance y — a book that 
revives memories of many that are gone, 
and seems almost a conspectus of con- 
temporary American literature. 

One after another I have taken up 
the Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table, the 
Poet at the same homely board, the Pro- 
fessory too, occupying the Autocrat's 
place, and Over the Teacups, a book of 
the same sort with another title. The 
author is said to have revisited Pittsfield 

©tr* 1E5oCme0 

after many years, and to have gone to 
the shop where an ancient apothecary 
had been wont to put up prescriptions, 
— perhaps Dr. Holmes's own. The 
apothecary, fearing that Dr. Holmes 
might suppose that he was the same one 
whom he had known, explained that 
he was his son, and the genial doctor 
replied that he recognized the father in 
every "liniment" of the son. So one 
cannot fail to recognize the Autocrat's 
** liniments " in everything that he 
wrote, whether he called himself poet, 
or professor, or what not. As I re-read 
these volumes, the first of them now 
fifty years after, it seems to me the au- 
thor is veritably speaking to me. How 
many memories of the man himself 
they bring into my room of pain ! 



Always on my bed there lie the poems 
of Longfellow, and one after another 
I read them over. Christus took me 
many days, and I read in connection with 
it the Life of the poet, by his brother, 
and especially his journal. Christus is 
of all Longfellow's poems the one that 
most completely absorbed his thoughts 
and stirred his heart for a large part 
of his life. It cannot fail, it seems to 
me, to move any reader who thought- 
fully studies it. It is remarkable how 
much of this feeling of the poet is re- 
corded in his journal, at the time that 
the sacred poem was in process of com- 
pletion, from 1849 ^o 1872. It is no 
less evident that it is the product of in- 
tense study of the scriptural narrative, 
and, in fact, of the Bible as a whole. 



When he began its comparison he 
wrote : " I long to try a loftier strain, 
the sublimer song whose broken mel- 
odies have for so many years breathed 
through my soul." And, when the work 
was near completion: "The subject of 
*The Divine Tragedy' has taken entire 
possession of me, so that I can think of 
nothing else. All day pondering upon 
and arranging it.'' 

Lowell happened not to be one of the 
volumes on my bed, but Lowell the man 
was a companion of my lonely hours, 
and The Two Angels^ full of friendship 
and devotion as it is, was a link in 
the chain that bound his name to that 
of Longfellow, — a chain that is marked 
throughout the journal of the elder poet. 

Another of my companions was en- 



titled Cheerful Yesterdays^ and still an- 
other A Part of a Mail s Lfe ; for 
Colonel Higginson mentions many of 
those whom I have known, and some 
of his experiences on Western prairies 
have also been mine. Did I not cross 
the State of Iowa, as he did, in 1856, 
before the railroads had accomplished 
that feat, the year that Omaha was born, 
when as yet it was but a map or a few 
stakes marking the present streets ? 

Last among the books that were my 
companions was the Lfe of Channing, 
by Chadwick, a book that took me 
quite out of range of the men whom I 
had personally known, though it was 
suffused with the atmosphere of Boston 
and brought back many whose influence 
on the town has been permanent. The 


®t* C^annin^ 

book is filled with records of theological 
disputation, and this may interest a class 
of readers ; but for me the delicate 
health of Dr. Channing was the im- 
portant fact. I have heard much about 
a sound mind in a sound body, the in- 
ference being that a mind can be sound 
only in a healthy physical system. As I 
have never had the advantage of a sound 
body, I have always been antagonistic 
to the apothegm. ^'Here is another in- 
stance to my side of the argument," — 
so I meditated as I read in the Hotel 
Dieu. "Jonathan Edwards is another," 
I added. 

The reading of one day furnished the 

basis for conversation with the surgeon 

when he made his call the following 

morning, and especially entertaining did 


qptrof^00iona{ €a(ft0 

we find the many professional touches 
in the book of the Autocrat. Unique 
among hospital experiences, I think, 
were my daily conferences with the 
Triad, as I have called the members of 
the governing board. In the evening, 
after my dinner, just before Evange- 
line, "good angel" literally and truly, 
was ready to do her final duties prepara- 
tory to the transfer of her responsibility 
to Santa Filomena, the Triad surrounded 
my bed to say good-night, and for a 
little space we discussed the parts of 
Holmes, or Longfellow, or Channing, 
or Higginson, or Howells, that had 
been my meditation during the day. 
Blessed is the patient whose condition 
permits him to read and write, to con- 
fer with his friends and visitors about 


€§e t^too ®ootr0 

other things than his pains. Happy he 
who has a doctor able and willing to 
stop a while to make incursion into lit- 
erature and turn his thoughts from his 
surroundings ; thrice happy he who has 
a Triad interested to sympathize with 
such efforts! 

There is a time for everything under 
the sun. There is a time to be commit- 
ted to the Hotel Dieu, and there is a 
time to be allowed to leave. There are 
two doors by which one may go out. 
The first opens upon God's Acre, where 
there is peace forever, and many there 
be who go through it. It is interest- 
ing that the French unite the name of 
Divinity with the house of pain and the 
Saxons with the inclosure of peace, 
where pain is no more ! The other door 

Soofe to ii}t (&Mt 

opens upon the life that now is, and 
sends the confined one out to a new ex- 
perience, where he may give thanks and 
labor more abundantly with the bless- 
ings of health. This door opens to me 
and I go out. 

The night is long, and pain weighs heavily. 
But God will hold his world above despair. 

Look to the East, where up the lucid sky 
The morning climbs ! The day shall yet 
be fair! 


t^t Ci(2 6^ t^t §ta 

We saw the slow tides go and come. 
The curving surf-lines lightly drawn. 

The gray rocks touched with tender bloom 
Beneath the fresh-blown rose of dawn. 

We saw in richer sunsets lost 

The sombre pomp of showery noons ; 

And signalled spectral sails that crossed 
The weird, low light of rising moons. 

The rail-car brought its daily crowds. 
Half curious, half indifferent. 

Like passing sails or floating clouds. 
We saw them as they came and went. 



The door of the Hotel Dieu, 
that opens upon the life that now is, lib- 
erates me, and the question comes to me 
for response. Whither shall I go ? I am 
aware that every man is drawn as long 
as life endures by two human forces 
whithersoever he may go. They bind 
him to those who, cheerily or wearily, 
have trodden the way before him. The 
father bears the name of one of these 
lines, the other once belonged to the 

The Hne of those bearing the name 

[ 93 ] 


by which I am known would lead me 
in a certain direction, but my mother's 
line draws me quite as forcefully in an- 
other. Both had their beginning in Bos- 
ton. There my maternal and paternal 
ancestors, doubtless unknown the one 
to the other, arrived soon after the mo- 
mentous year when John Winthrop had 
brought from England that great seal 
of the Commonwealth of Massachu- 
setts which hangs on his Boston statue 
in the similitude of a huge buckwheat- 
cake. To neither of them did the at- 
mosphere of the little place prove con- 
genial. It was an eastwindy theological 
atmosphere. One pair thought it more 
promising to seek warmth in the cold 
climate of New Hampshire, and the 
family name was carried in that direc- 


€^t 3^0^^0 

tion. There it remains to this day. 
The other pair, being of the Society 
of Friends, and mindful of the way in 
which their co - rehgionists had been 
tied to the cart's tail and stripped and 
beaten, betook themselves to Carter- 
et's dominion of West Jersey, where 
Friends abounded. 

The geographical student, as he reads 
the map of New Jersey to-day, asks him- 
self how it happens that a line beginning 
at Little Egg Harbor on the Atlantic 
coast, and running in a northwesterly 
direction towards Trenton, separates the 
country as with a knife-blade. When I 
was a boy we were wont, in New York, 
to speak of " The Jerseys,'' and this ar- 
bitrary line on the map remains to tell 
us of the two ancient grants, — East and 

[ 95 I 

(§n Unmtanxn^ Mnt 

West Jersey. It is like the buttons on 
the back of a man's coat — even of a 
Quaker's coat, I suppose — telling of 
days that are gone ; of days when it was 
the fashion for gentlemen who carried 
swords to button the flaps of their skirts 
back to keep them out of the way. Thus 
the diagonal line across the map of New 
Jersey tells us of the days that once were, 
and it has no more present meaning than 
the name of the West Jersey Transpor- 
tation Company has, which has no sig- 
nificance except historical, since New 
Jersey became a sovereign state, one and 

So it happened that in my conva- 
lescence one line tempted me to go 
towards New Hampshire, where my 
ancestors found the theological climate 


TJ?atrmini5 T17at^t0 

more cordial than the winter winds 
of nature. The other line drew me to 
West Jersey, where balmier breezes 
promised greater present encouragement 
to the invalid. Nature had in the be- 
ginning provided the particular place. 
Where the shore line faced the south, 
there lay a bar of sand called Abse- 
con Island, with the Gulf Stream and 
its warming waters between it and the 
colder Atlantic. Elsewhere we make 
our homes comfortable, artificially, with 
hot water ; and, lo, here is a whole com- 
munity cheered by Nature herself with 
an ocean heated in a mysterious way, and 
directed even more mysteriously for the 
same purpose. 

Many things that we need are pro- 
vided for us by Providence long before 

I 97 1 

(^ ^ai5aciou0 ©octet 

we are born. Two centuries before my 
ancestors separated in Boston Absecon 
Island was prepared for my convales- 
cence. Two centuries, too, after that 
early separation, my parents brought the 
divergent family lines together again, 
and prepared the way for my life in 
Boston, for my summers in New Hamp- 
shire, and for my winter on Absecon 

Fifty years and more ago a sagacious 
doctor saw that the sun-kissed shores 
of Absecon offered an asylum for sick 
ones seeking recuperation, and he sent 
patients there. Lo, the change that his 
sagacity wrought ! Lo, the preparation 
made to receive me ! 

It is late autumn, the summer throngs 
have gone. Hundreds of the thousand 


^un0§in^ faite not 

hotels have put up their shutters, and 
streetfuls of dwelHngs are dull and 
cheerless ; but Absecon Island looks out 
upon the Gulf Stream with steady eye 
through the Light that the United States 
keeps bright to guide the sailor on his 
dangerous way. The waves sound con- 
tinually their wonted rote, the sunshine 
fails not, and the winds of heaven bring 
health and inspiration to the visitor, just 
as they once did when the man, if there 
was a man, of the glacial age sought 
it when he needed to be thawed out. 
Since the first sick man was sent here 
by his doctor there have been changes. 
Let us call it growth, development ; and 
now this City by the Sea is " the most 
conspicuous example of municipal sea- 
shore development to be found in the 

I 99 J 

Com^ottaU^ ©iveCftn^^ 

world." On this sand-bank has grown 
up a real city. The natural occupation 
of the people, of course, is caring for 
the throng that has followed the first 
invalid who came here. It is not the 
nursing of invalids, however ; for most 
who come are well, needing only relief 
from care or, just as often, a place where 
they may disport themselves. Forty 
thousand, perhaps fifty thousand, people 
have come here to make a business of 
hospitality. They have built comfort- 
able dwellings, from which they are 
quite willing to withdraw on occasion 
if visitors long for them. They have put 
up big hotels that will house guests by 
the thousand, and small ones that will 
take them by the hundred; yes, even 
smaller establishments that limit their 

^xxctkBB J^oBpxtatxt^^ 

hospitality by the score. They have es- 
tabHshed prices in these that are adapted 
to the bank account of the multi-mil- 
Honaire, or to the modest purse of the 
thrifty widow. There is no limit to the 
hospitality, nor to the prices — up or 

The resident population, as well as 
the visitors, need a civil government, and 
one is found here organized in a most 
satisfactory manner. There is the police 
force, with little to do, so orderly is the 
crowd; a fire department of the most 
excellent skill ; a water board that brings 
its supply up from a comfortable depth 
of a thousand feet or so, and a sani- 
tary scheme apparently without a flaw. 
Signs of intelligent foresight are plainly 
seen everywhere. 


t^t (goatbtoaffe 

There are three principal arteries of 
travel in the City by the Sea, running in 
a way parallel with the shore line. First, 
on the shore line itself is the Board- 
walk, — accent distinctly on the first 
syllable. This is a structure as wide as 
a street, as smooth as the deck of a ship, 
and as firm as a rock. Over it roll hun- 
dreds of wheel - chairs, and it offers 
the visitor on foot a promenade that 
equals that of the greatest liner. It 
skirts the shore for five miles, and as 
if that were not enough, there stretch 
seaward five broad piers, that invite the 
stroller to go a thousand feet towards 
Europe without the discomfort of a 
fluctuating deck. As my doctor wished 
me to get my exercise by walking, it 
seemed as though this Boardwalk and 

(Btreat (Uefe ®tra>»n 

these piers were built as a part of the 
general scheme for my convalescence. 
On these piers are theatres, concert 
rooms, and open places from which one 
may cast a line into the ocean, or see 
fishermen draw great nets filled with 
shiny and wriggling and flopping crea- 
tures, good and bad. Here one may 
enjoy himself for the small sum of a 
dime as long as he wishes. The Board- 
walk is several feet in the air, and the 
surf in some places beats under it. The 
side toward the ocean is mainly unob- 
structed, but for the piers. The land 
side of this great promenade is bordered 
with hotels, and with shops where many 
things desired by tourists, and more 
things that it may be supposed tourists 
do not desire, are ofl^ered for sale at 
[ 103 1 

&xttU (Rounb C(xpB 

auction or otherwise. There are end- 
less devices for the amusement of chil- 
dren, and of those parents who find it 
necessary to accompany them as guides. 
There are Japanese innumerable, and 
Mohammedans with little round caps 
that have lost their brims, if they ever 
possessed them, who wearily bear huge 
packs of embroidery on their backs 
covered with sheets, that remind the 
beholder of the bundles that washer- 
women carry on occasion. Doubtless 
washing, too, would be beneficial for 
these packs and their bearers, but the buy- 
ers ask no questions. The bearers with 
their embroidered caps are so picturesque ! 

T is pleasant through the loop-holes of 

To peep at such a world ; to see the stir 


Of the great Babel, and not feel the crowd ; 
To hear the roar she sends through all her 

At a safe distance, where the dying sound 
Falls a soft murmur on the uninjured ear. 

There are hotels of the larger size 
and of the higher grade for miles along 
this side of the Boardwalk as elsewhere. 
They are huge, and they have a char- 
acter all their own on the outside, while 
within they boast a mixture of barbaric 
magnificence and eminent good taste, 
but always gorgeousness. Their tables 
are loaded with costly and rare glass, 
silver, and china, and their larders are 
supplied with all the delicacies that are 
adapted to tempt the palate of the epi- 
cure or the invalid. 

Avenues run from the Boardwalk to- 

1 105] 

^umS}XM anb O^one 

ward the other two arteries. They are 
lined with smaller hotels and residences, 
most of the residences being offered for 
rent during the season, in whole or in 
part, the owners the meantime retiring 
into the less desirable apartments or going 
to some boarding-house in the town or 
elsewhere; for the inhabitants, it must 
always be remembered, are here only to 
take care of the visitors and to make 
their lives enjoyable. Where can such a 
condition of affairs be found elsewhere ? 
Truly the City by the Sea was established 
for my convalescence, though I am but 
one of the great throng that is attracted 
by its sunshine and ozone. 

The two other principal arteries of 
travel are for wheel vehicles, which 
the Boardwalk is not, and they run 

(&conom^ of ^)fciu 

from one end of the island to the other. 
Their names are taken from the oceans 
that limit the bounds of our country. 
Atlantic Avenue is the business street. 
On it are found the railway station, 
newspaper offices, banks and shops, with 
occasional apartment houses and hotels. 
Pacific Avenue, nearer the Boardwalk 
and the shore, is quieter; has some 
private dwellings, more small board- 
ing-houses and apartment houses and 
churches. The economy of space in 
the shops on both of these avenues 
is truly astonishing. The shops are 
often lilliputian in their dimensions, 
though there are a few establishments 
that would do credit to a metropolis. 
The architecture of the buildings is 
peculiar. Two feet under the surface 


&on^ ^tCixx)))Ci^^0 

of the sand water is found. Therefore 
there are no cellars below the street 
level, and the houses seem perched in 
the air, with long stairways leading up 
to piazzas skillfully arranged to com- 
mand every possible view of the beach 
and the ocean. Inside, there is great 
economy of space, and passages and 
stairways are as narrow as possible. I 
have often thought of a canny New 
England lady who was examining plans 
for a new residence and specially in- 
quired if a coffin might be carried down 
the stairs. Tried by that test, I have 
wondered if houses here would prove 
acceptable ? In many of them the as- 
cent is very abrupt, making them seem 
like ladders ; they are often very nar- 
row and crowded, and the treads withal 
[ io8 ] 

liJxnkx (gatS}xn^ 

are so limited that a man cannot place 
his whole foot on them, except uncom- 
fortably sidewise. 

The beach is perfect, gently shelving 
out seaward. Bathing is one of the 
great charms of the place in summer, 
and, indeed, I have seen brave and ven- 
turesome spirits swimming in the surf 
every month from autumn to spring. So 
the unique place attempts boldly to sus- 
tain its reputation as a winter resort, — 
the Florida of the North ; but it must 
be confessed that, though this reputa- 
tion is well founded, it has hardly as 
yet been widely recognized. However, 
it has been my winter resort for conva- 
lescence and I must speak well of it, for 
it has done well by me. 

Is not this, indeed, a place for recu- 

[ 109 ] 

Oipm aU "gtax 

peration? The very town itself goes 
annually through a sleep and a conva- 
lescence. The houses that are so full of 
life during the "season" shut their doors 
and windows, and seem to enter upon 
a period of hibernation. It is true that 
as the years go on one finds an increasing 
number of hotels and boarding-houses 
bearing labels telling passers-by in eco- 
nomical locution that they are "open all 
year'* (why not "all year" as well as all 
day ?), and many of the great hotels pre- 
tend not to close, but they are found at 
considerable periods to be only partially 
inhabited. There are acres of rooms 
that stand chill and cheerless until the 
Lenten season approaches. Then one 
notices signs reading, "Will open Feb- 
ruary ist," "February 15th," and so on. 

^pvif ani> (m<x^ 

One more emphatic sign read, "Will 
open February 15, by George/' at least 
it seemed emphatic to those who were 
unaware that " George'' is a local florist. 
As spring approaches one sees a car- 
penter at work here, another there, in 
increasing numbers, and painters follow- 
ing them, with layers of brick, and plas- 
terers patching this and that. Week 
follows week while this process goes on, 
until Lent has come and gone, April 
has dropped its "showers swete," and 
May has developed the flowers that 
ought to spring up in succession. Then 
the convalescence begins to be marked. 
It goes on until warmer weather brings 
from the seething cities throngs of men, 
women, and children to enjoy its reviv- 
ing air, to bask in the sunshine of the 

[I, I] 

tS}t HJtat^tx 

long-stretching piers, and to give thanks 
to the doctor who first told the world 
that Absecon Island held its face to the 
Gulf Stream and offered a place for con- 

Even the weather favors us here, we 
notice. When Washington orders the 
Weather Bureau man to run up on his 
warning flagstaff the black-hearted flag, 
premonition of "a storm of marked vio- 
lence," or two such for a hurricane, we 
go bravely forth on the Boardwalk with 
confidence that the storm will swerve 
from its predicted course, and that the 
hurricane will spend its wrath in less 
favored regions before it reaches this 
coast. If Ocean sends us from the vast 
unknown of its depths bleak salt-water 
fogs, we open our mouths, as our doctor 


J^tatt^ in tSit ^xx 

directs, drink in the dry mist, and say, 
" Aha, we are well! '' 

Thus following my Boston Quaker 
ancestors, I came to the City by the 
Sea; but I did not follow the throng. I 
came when the winds of New Hamp- 
shire threatened the invalid. I walked 
the street and the strand when boarding- 
house and hotel were closed, and I found 
health in the air that blew mild from 
the ocean. I studied the place and the 
people when the crowd was not here to 
interfere, and many things quite un- 
known to the usual visitor became famil- 
iar to me. Month passed, and month, 
but I did not pass until the sun had 
warmed the hills and valleys of New 
Hampshire, and had overheated thesands 
of the City by the Sea. Then I opened 


Coni?dC^i^cence Com\>Uk 

the door that led me away, and my time 
of convalescence was over. 

The sea is couched, the sea-fowl gone to 

And the wild storm hath somewhere found 

a nest; 
Air slumbers — wave with wave no longer 

Only a heaving of the deep survives, 
A tell-tale motion ! soon it will be laid. 
And by the tide alone the water swayed. 


How many times have you sat at gaze 
Till the mouldering Jire forgot to blaze. 
Shaping among the whimsical coals 
Fancies and figures and shining goals ! 
What matters the ashes that cover those ? 
While hickory lasts you can toast your toes. 


t^e^t Cvanfotrb Caxxkx 

WE were in the Cemetery when 
I was interrupted by my Doc- 
tor. Let us not stay there, even to read 
the mortuary poems that give the An- 
tiquary so much pleasure. This evening 
I see a group forming at Macy's oppo- 
site. The mail is coming in. 

Because our forefathers kept the rail- 
way out of town, we have to send for 
our letters to the nearest station that 
the disappointed corporation was will- 
ing to allow. It is five long miles 
away, and though called Cranford, is 
in other town limits. This makes our 

€^t &Httx'^Caxxkx 

isolation the more complete, and in this 
particular the more tantalizing. We 
would have quiet and remoteness, to 
be sure, but we would have it with 
the news of the noisy world and letters 
from our friends more readily acces- 
sible, so contradictory is humankind ! 
Our circumstances are not unlike those 
of our ancestors in England a century 
and more ago as described by Cowper 
in Tbe Task. Our letter-carrier comes 
riding on rubber-tired wheels, however, 
instead of on a saddle, and he does not 
announce his coming with his cheerful 
horn. Let us stop a moment and listen 
to the poet, — 

Hark! 'tis the twanging horn! o*er yonder 

That with its wearisome but needful length 


lODt (Reab Cotopet 

Bestrides the wintry flood, in which the moon 
Sees her unwrinkled face reflected bright, 
He comes, the herald of a noisy world, 
With spattered boots, strapped waist, and 

frozen locks ; 
News from all nations lumbering at his back. 
True to his charge, the close-packed load be- 
Yet careless what he brings, his one concern 
Is to conduct it to the destined inn. 
And, having dropt the expected bag, pass on. 
He whistles as he goes, light-hearted wretch. 
Cold, and yet cheerful; messenger of grief 
Perhaps to thousands, and of joy to some ; 
To him indifl^erent whether grief or joy. 

You see, we still read Cowper in 
My Cranford, as we should, and we 
prefer above all modern versions those 
three handy little volumes printed in 
"Amherst, N. H.," in 1808, and sold 

^otrtin^ t^e &HkxB 

by " Manning and Loring, No. 2, and 
by Lincoln and Edmands,No. 5 3, Corn- 
hill, Boston." They are bound in lea- 
ther, the pages are yellow and stained 
by time, the spelling of some of the 
words is eccentric and after a fashion 
that may have been peculiar to the lit- 
tle town, for the orthographic light of 
Noah Webster had not yet appeared, 
still less that of Joseph Worcester. 
Happy days ! when we spelled words as 
we liked, and no one cared to interfere ! 
Now our carrier has completed his 
drive from the lonesome and forlorn 
railway station, the four pouches of let- 
ters, circulars, and daily journals have 
been thrown on the counter, and the 
postmaster and his wife have disap- 
peared behind the screen that is per- 

6itte anb (go^B 

forated by glass-closed windows marked 
** Postal Orders" and "Letters/' The 
group increases as moments fly by. 
There is the man who comes every 
day to get a letter that never arrives. 
He strokes his long white Dundreary 
whiskers as I speak, and soon I shall 
see him walk up to the delivery win- 
dow and hear that there is nothing 
for him, or have a newspaper properly 
folded handed out, only to find that 
it is for some one else, and that he 
cannot " forward " second-class matter 
without paying more postage. Alas, he 
has left his purse at home ! Here are 
the little girls and boys, ranging in 
years from seven to twelve, who come 
regularly to glean what they can, and 
to take it, perchance to the handful 

^ ^t0)V ^XOUB& 

of summer visitors, or to the families 
of the workers in the barrel shops who 
are too much worn by their toil to 
come themselves. The number of small 
children who throng the post office 
twice a day in My Cranford is mar- 
velous. Where do so many come from ? 
Unless all signs fail, Cranford will be 
a populous town when the present gen- 
eration has passed away. 

The process of " back-stamping " let- 
ters in Cranford is a slow one, and why 
it is done I fail to understand, for no 
one can read the dates it is intended 
that the process shall leave on the re- 
verse of our friends' missives. Not only 
does this detain us as we watch the 
two officials behind the screen, but the 
packages must be weighed or counted 
[ 122] 

(mifb ^uxtmtnt 

to-day, by order of some one at Wash- 
ington. At last the work is done. Miss 
Wanamaker draws a pile of letters and 
papers and post-cards for her father and 
drops out of line, so that little boys and 
girls may get their deserts. My turn 
comes, and I find my papers from the 
distant metropolis and the letters that 
are to bring me good news or bad. 

Just at the moment there rushes into 
the little office a man stimulated with 
alcohol, a man from some other lati- 
tude, for My Cranford long ago voted 
that the customs of the good fathers 
who used rum and made flip and brewed 
beer should not be publicly followed, 
and there is no open opportunity to get 
excited in this way. The stranger has 
lost a letter which should have been 
[ ^23 J 

(^ t^x^at 

forwarded to him at another office; at 
least that is what in his frenzy he avers, 
and he threatens dire vengeance upon 
the head of the meek official protected 
behind his glazed screen of numbered 
boxes more or less filled with papers and 
letters. The throng stands aside as he 
rails ; the assistant tries to ward off the 
threats from his superior ; the loungers 
care not, except to see and hear all that 
they can that is involved in the unto- 
ward interruption of the calm current 
of Cranford happenings. The heat of 
the stranger burns itself out, he retreats 
to the outer air, still threatening to 
"report" the postmaster at Washing- 
ton, and the official assures him that 
nothing he could do would please him 
more. The excitement is over, and we 

Our ^oton J^OMBt 

betake ourselves to our coign of vantage 
or shielded nook to see what the great 
world has been about during the past 
twenty-four hours. 

Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast. 
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round. 
And while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn 
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups 
That cheer but not inebriate wait on each. 
So let us welcome peaceful evening in. 

Just opposite the Bunker Hill Monu- 
ment is the Town House that we built 
after the custom of holding our public 
gatherings in the meeting-house had 
been given up. It is a becoming orna- 
ment of our central square, albeit of a 
too modern style of architecture to suit 
my taste or that of those of my gener- 
ation. It does well for all town meet- 
[^25 1 

Ofb ^onte TUeefe 

ings ; and it also helps in the social life 
of the young folks. Many are the dances 
that are enjoyed in its ample halls, and 
the theatricals ! It is there that once in 
two years we have a great dinner on the 
occasion of our Town Fair ; and there, 
on the alternate year, we have another 
dinner when Old Home Week is cele- 
brated. On each of these occasions we 
have something that seems to us better 
than such repasts average, and there are 
speeches that stir our local pride and 
deepen the love for Cranford that some 
think is strong enough already. 

When Old Home Week comes we 
straighten the lines of turf that border 
our paths on the highways that our vis- 
itors are to travel ; we trim our hedges 
and mow our lawns; in short, we put 


(Uo &CiU ^outr0 

our Cranford into "company" order, 
and hope that all our visitors — our 
cousins and our uncles and aunts — may- 
think that so we appear all the other 
months of the two years between their 
visits ! 

The Town House is thus a notable 
help in our social life. It is remarkable 
how many are the occasions for its use. 
What we should do without it — we 
especially who are under seventy — I 
am sure I cannot imagine. We have 
no late hours there, as our city friends 
would understand it, and we all get to 
our homes in season to enjoy a long rest 
before it is time to light the kitchen fire 
or to milk the waiting cows. 

Hail, rural life ! 
Address himself who will to the pursuit 

[ 127] 


Of honors, or emoluments, or fame — 
I shall not add myself to such a chase. . . . 

God gives to every man 
The virtue, temper, understanding, taste 
That lifts him into life, and lets him fall 
Just in the niche he was ordained to fill. . . . 
To me an unambitious mind, content 
In the low vale of life, that early felt 
A wish for ease and leisure, and ere long 
Found here that leisure and that ease I wished. 


Trim the gay taper in his rustic dome. 
And light the wintry paradise of home ; 
And let the half-uncurtained window hail 
Some way-worn man benighted in the vale ! 
Now, while the moaning night-wind rages high. 
As sweep the shot-stars down the troubled sky. 
While fiery hosts in heaven* s wide circle play. 
And bathe in lurid light the milky-way. 
Safe from the storm, the meteor, and the shower. 
Some pleasing page shall charm the solemn hour — 
With pathos shall command, with wit beguile, 
A generous tear of anguish, or a smile. 


tilt gjufific &xS^xCiX^ 

AS I pass along early this summer 
evening I notice that the win- 
dows of the Public Library are aglow, 
and I drop in to inquire of the fair one 
who presides over it on week-days about 
the time-stained volumes on the lower 
shelves that tell me of the days when 
Cranford was a-growing, and about the 
habits of the fathers and mothers of a 
hundred or two years ago. The Anti- 
quary is there before me, and he hands 
me a volume of sermons delivered on oc- 
casions of interest, as centenaries or semi- 
centenaries, and he tells me of the riches 

[>3' 1 

(niini0^et0 Con0^\>Ci(oxB 

of local historical information that may 
be dug from them ; for your ministers 
are the conservators of past doings, in- 
teresting and uninteresting, though so 
far as I have been able to decide, each 
man must say for himself whether any 
^iven record is one or the other. These 
sermons were preached in the meeting- 
house by the Rev. Freegrace Raynolds 
and the Rev. William Hubby, and one 
was published by "S. Eliot, in Corn- 
hill," Boston, in 1743. 

Here I find the Centennial Address, 
delivered to stimulate the patriotism of 
the sons and to keep fresh the memories 
of the fathers. It opens with the safe 
statement that " a wilderness of unmeas- 
ured extent is a sublime object''; and 
continues with the assertion that " this 
[ 132] 

Ont Cra3^ ^^ip 

world affords but one other of equal 
sublimity, an ocean untraversed " ; and 
then continues to speak of the feelings 
of the inhabitants of the Eastern Hemi- 
sphere in the fifteenth century, of the 
enterprise of Columbus, **at that time 
without a parallel in the history of the 
world," of the deeds of the Pilgrim 
Fathers, which eclipsed it, of their 
" one crazy ship to waft them over the 
yet unfrequented ocean of the West, and 
a treacherous captain, who, for a bribe, 
landed them upon the inhospitable shore 
of Plymouth, late in the season, instead 
of bringing them, agreeably to his con- 
tract, to the more genial climate and 
productive soil of New York." 

The sermon meanders through the 
story of the charter of the Massachu- 

[ ^^3 ] 

t^t ^xx0t Jn^afiitant 

setts Bay, the founding of the colony of 
New Hampshire, and the terrible Indian 
and French wars, of which I was in- 
formed pretty thoroughly in the his- 
torical text-books current when I went 
to school in the old Bay State. It tells 
us the story of the first inhabitant of 
Cranford, one Peter Powers, who was 
united in wedlock with the damsel of 
his choice in the year 1728, and moved 
from Massachusetts to Cranford with 
her and her two infants when she was 
but twenty-one years of age and he only 
a year older. 

The minister's retrospective eye saw 
them "perched upon these snows un- 
tracked, except by the footsteps of sav- 
age men or beasts of prey," "secluded 
from the civilized world, in the bosom 

[134] - 

(§ U^efuC ^ot0e 

of a dense forest, and their nearest 
neighbor could not be visited in a less 
traveling distance than ten miles." Mag- 
nifying the small river near by, the story 
tells us of the **dark tide" that separates 
them from their neighbor, making it im- 
possible to cross except at two periods of 
the year, namely, when it was "bound 
in fetters of ice or in times of extreme 
drought," though they might get over 
"by availing themselves of the power 
and skill of an old and well-trained 
beast of the Narragansett blood, that at 
all times disdained its proud waters, and 
whose brawny limbs would cause it to 
boil like a seething pot or cauldron." 

The picture makes me shudder, even 
when I warm myself before my blazing 
iire, for it presents to my understand- 


tSit "gM of tS}t ^Mci^t 

ing a vivid display of the conditions of 
an age when heroes were made by pure 
force of untoward circumstances. I en- 
joy seeing the process, and I seem to 
like to be made to shudder. So I let 
my eyes run over the page and stir my- 
self by the description of the wild and 
grand in the deep forest, the solitude 
of which is described as being impress- 
ive ; "but when occasionally broken by 
the scream of an eagle, the howl of a 
beast, or the yell of a savage, it becomes 
awful." "Think, too," continues the 
preacher, "that this youthful pair were 
familiar with all the ferocious cruelties 
of an Indian war. Their ears had heard 
the story from those in the habiliments 
of mourning, and their eyes had seen 
the blood-stained hearth and threshold 


^aj)p^ ®au<g[§t^0 

of the once peaceful and happy but now 
deserted dwelUng." 

The preacher, as the Antiquary un- 
folded his words, continued to draw the 
weird and ghastly picture of the life of 
the first married couple in the limits 
of Cranford. "Happy are their sons/' 
he concluded, " who have entered into 
their labors, and happy are their daugh- 
ters who dwell securely/' As I followed 
the by-ways in my walks during the 
summer, I could not help recalling the 
dread story of the life of the first mar- 
ried couple who walked as I did there, 
but not over roads smoothed after the 
fashion of the latest builders of roads. It 
was through thickets and marshes,thread- 
ing devious and dangerous ways, marked 
only by blazed trees and upturned stones. 

[ 137] 

t^t Ofb anb t^t (Ueto 

In winter, when I turn my face from 
my cheerful hearth, I almost fear that 
some sturdy savage may dart from be- 
hind the arras, or enter my unguarded 
door. So the old and the new meet in 
my mind, and I love to have it so. 

Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife. 
Their sober wishes never learned to stray ; 
Along the cool sequestered vale of life 
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way. 


(m^ (mansion 

" / claim you, old friend,^' yawned the arm-chair, 
'* This corner, you know, is your seat ; " 

*' Rest your slippers on me,^* beamed the fender, 
** / brighten at touch of your feet, '*^ 


A blessed lot hath he, who having passed 
His youth and early manhood in the stir 
And turmoil of the world, retreats at length 
To the same dwelling where his father dwelt ; 
And haply views his tottering little ones 
Embrace those ancient knees and climb that lap. 
On which first kneeling his own infancy 
Lisped its brief prayer » 


(m^ (man0ion 

I AM setting down my musings about 
My Cranford without regard to se- 
quence of any kind. Summer and win- 
ter pass as I write. The fire has burned 
on my city hearth, and the sun has 
warmed me as I strolled by the sea or 
walked by the mountain brooks. Dur- 
ing the season of sunshine I have lived 
in my ancient mansion at Cranford. 
As autumn came on with its wondrous 
leaves of a thousand brilliant tints, I bade 
farewell to the mansion, to the woods, 
to the leafy walks in the meadows and 
by the stream-side. I have cried, with 
Adelaide Procter, — 


(jn^ CaBtU in ^pain 

Moan, O ye Autumn Winds 1 

Summer has fled. 
The flowers have closed their tender leaves 

and die ; 
The lily's gracious head 

All low must lie. 
Because the gentle Summer now is dead. 

May I call nothing mine of v^hich I 
do not hold title-deeds duly recorded at 
the registry office of the county ? May 
I not speak of "my" train, "my" 
mother-in-law, or boast of " my " 
town, take my ease in " mine" inn, even 
if possession legal is wanting? May I 
not remove my castle from Spain to 
Cranford ? May I not speak of " my " 
mansion, though the cold title-deed is 
in another name ? At least, I may sing 
with Lucy Larcom : — 

(^ ^(xmxt^^ ^ome 

I do not own an inch of land, 

But all I see is mine, — 
The orchards and the mowing-fields. 

The lawns and gardens fine. 
The winds my tax-collectors are, 

They bring me tithes divine — 
Wild scents and subtle essences, 

A tribute rare and free. 

My Mansion House! Such houses 
are sown all throughout the land. It 
was built a hundred and more years ago. 
I have not only removed it from Spain 
to Cranford, I have removed it for my 
present purpose a furlong from its an- 
cient site. A young couple established 
it as the home of a family, the place 
for children to gambol and grow up in, 
for grandchildren and great-grandchil- 
dren to love. 


t^t ^intpf^ Bife 

O fortunate, O happy day. 
When a new household finds Its place 
Among the myriad homes of earth. 
Like a new star just sprung to birth. 
And rolled on its harmonious way 
Into the boundless realms of space ! 

It was not to be a temporary shelter 
until something grander could be built, 
or until a remove might be made to 
the city. The young people loved the 
country. Theirs was the simple life, — 
the quiet life. The threescore and ten 
acres around them that they called their 
own were to be their world, — their 
home. They had no thought but that 
they should some day lay their bones 
under a sepulchre stone such as I can 
see from my window as I muse this 
bright summer morning, only a few 
[ 144] 

Mn^0 in a &xnt 

yards from their kitchen garden beneath 
the shade of their apple orchard. Such 
a home was sure to be substantial. It 
was also certain to be adorned with the 
simple frieze and cornice that we, so 
long afterwards, admire and try to copy. 
These ancestors — they were not an- 
cestors then, but only the links in a line 
the originators of which had lived in 
the Mother Country, as they liked to 
call England after they had left it for 
the New World — these ancestors, we 
can imagine, began to plan the Man- 
sion. The country was bleak, and they 
first thought of protection from cold by 
means of fire. They designed a chim- 
ney, deep, broad, and high. They laid 
its foundation in a cellar far below the 
surface. As they put one course of 


€^t C^imn^^ 

bricks upon another they left cavernous 
spaces, and in one of them there is now 
found the great oven in which whole 
sticks of cordwood were burned with- 
out the necessity of the use of a saw. 
Other mysterious caves there are that 
the timid present generation hardly 
dares to enter. At any rate, whether 
from fear or what not, these regions 
seem to be less known than the dank 
windings of Kentucky's Mammoth 
Cave ! The chimney in time rose to its 
height. It showed, when it was com- 
plete, the comfortable open fireplaces 
that we moderns try in vain to emulate, 
we who cheer ourselves usually at a 
hole in the floor, or by means of coils 
of iron pipes in ornamental radiators. 
"Comfortable," did I say? Sometimes 


I doubt it, as I recall chilly days when 
I have sat before one of these blazing 
fires and have been roasted on one 
side w^hile I shivered on the other. Let 
the word stand, however! Let our 
ancient young folks think themselves 
comfortable when the winter blasts 
whistle through the branches of the 
leafless maples and pines outside, and 
the icy snow goes pit-a-pat against the 
many-paned windows. In these fire- 
places were the cranes, the pot-hooks 
and hangers, and the pots themselves, in 
which many a toothsome piece de resist- 
ance has been seethed for a family meal, 
— ah ! yea, for a gathering of the clergy, 
or for one of the frolics in which even 
ancestors were wont to indulge. 

But I am allowing my musings to 


^ (gooft^(Room 

run away with me. The chimney of the 
Mansion and the cellar were but the 
beginning. Huge beams were cut from 
the near-by forest, and planks were 
hewed for floors, and timbers for rafters, 
and shingles for a roof, and each finally 
found its resting-place in the plan, — the 
resting-place in which it lies now, after 
a hundred years and fifty have elapsed. 
Rooms were designed, — a parlor, a 
sitting-room, a dining-room, a kitchen, 
a larder, and, remarkable to write, a 
book-room. A stairway rambled about 
the great chimney, giving access from 
the front door to a second story, and 
the other rooms seemed to play tag 
around the brick-work that included 
the chimney and all the fireplaces. One 
followed another, with no unfriendly 


"^ontBt Caxt 

passage-ways to separate them. All of 
these rooms were ample. There is not, 
probably there never was, a house in 
town more carefully finished in every 
respect. Mr. Longfellow, with a poet's 
faith, and, some will say, with a poet's 
ignorance of the tricks of the builders 
of the olden time, once wrote: — 

In the elder days of Art, 

Builders wrought with greatest care 
Each minute and unseen part; 

For the Gods see everywhere. 

He even drew a moral from his own 
statement; but he had not seen as I 
have the sham work of former days. 
This Mansion in Cranford, however, 
was wrought with honest care, and its 
present condition proves it. 

The builders lived in it and died, and 

[ H9] 

^ 6enetrou0 &xH 

generation followed generation under its 
roof. Twice has it been made the free 
gift of affection by owners who had not 
been blessed with children to whom it 
might descend. Thus, at the end of a 
long, long period of close friendship 
that had lasted a generation, the Man- 
sion and the farm passed into the pos- 
session of Miss Arley. She came from 
a city to Cranford, and I suppose that 
the friends who bequeathed the estate to 
her were mindful that dwellers in cities 
when they undertake farming usually 
discover that much money is needed 
to make the farm go. They therefore 
added to their generous gift the more 
generous bequest of an endowment, and 
Miss Arley still enjoys the pleasure of 
cutting off the coupons from a few 



thousand dollars' worth of good bonds. 
She is doubtless as much pleased with 
that use of her scissors as the capitalist 
is, or as she herself is with any other use 
to which that important implement can 
be put. What woman or man would not 
enjoy such a gift ! It makes no more 
difference in Miss Arley's way of life 
than Mr. Dawes exhibits in his, whether 
his neighbors send him little business or 
much. Like him. Miss Arley keeps as 
busy all day long in the Mansion as he 
does in his shop, though I have fan- 
cied that the Woman's Club sees more 
of her, and that more hours are given 
to the selection of books and maga- 
zines for the Public Library that she 
loves than otherwise might have been 
devoted to that congenial labor. 

1 151] 

(ReaC &xttX(Xtuxt 

The occupants of the Mansion before 
Miss Arley were Mr. Thomas Harring- 
ton and his wife, and it was they who 
devised the estate to its present owner. 
Mr. Harrington was an "educator," as 
such persons are now called, and I am 
very happy that he was, for it was his 
scholarly touch that filled the old house 
with books, — not merely paper, printed 
and bound, but real literature. How 
much room there would be, by the way, 
on some of our shelves, if we were to cast 
out everything in the guise of a book 
that is only paper printed on and bound ! 
Some literature on Miss Arley's shelves 
is called a trifle old by young readers, 
but it is just what I want, and it gives me 
great pleasure to go from room to room, 
and only look over the shelves. Much 


&tcixnt>> Catm 

more does it please me to take the books 
to some cosy corner and leisurely turn 
over pages that it often seems to me 
no one but myself has turned since Mr. 
Thomas Harrington and his wife left 
the quiet walks of Cranford to enjoy 
life in even more blissful scenes. I have 
no doubt that these books are all as 
familiar as the alphabet to Miss Arley, 
for she lived with the Harringtons, as 
we know, for the space called a genera- 
tion before they died, and she skillfully 
directs me as I go from shelf to shelf in 
search of particular information. 

There 's an atmosphere of learned 
calm about the ancient Mansion that 
one feels before he knows aught of its 
interesting history. It is like the aroma 
of a library, that tells even the blind man 


3 &0U 3t 

that he is among records of thought 
before he comes within reach of the 
books themselves. 

Is it wondrous strange that I love 

My Mansion ? 

This is my domain, my cell. 
My hermitage, my cabin — what you will — 
I love it better than a snail his house. 


But what avail inadequate words to reach 
The innermost of Truth ? Who shall essay. 
Blinded and weak, to point and lead' the way. 
Or so he the mystery in familiar speech ? 
Yet, if it be that something not thy own. 

Some shadow of the Thought to which our schemes. 
Creeds, cult, and ritual are at best but dreams. 
Is even to thy unworthiness made known. 
Thou may St not hide what yet thou shouldst not dare 
To utter lightly, lest on lips of thine 
The real seem false, the beauty undivine. 
So, weighing duty in the scale of prayer. 
Give what seems given thee. It may prove a seed 
Of goodness dropped in fallow-grounds of need, 


THE young people in Cranford 
have a beautiful custom of enter- 
taining the elders, who have reached the 
limit of threescore and ten years, in 
the joyous month of June each year. 
The meeting-house is the place chosen 
for the gracious gathering, but it is not 
in the part of the house appropriated 
to religious worship, pious though the 
entertainment is. 

Preliminary to the gathering the 
rocking-chairs of the community are 
collected for the occasion, and baskets 
of provisions are sent in to grace long 


^txcov&^xxkB anb C^ux 

tables conveniently arranged. When the 
hour arrives a goodly number of gray 
beards and gray heads are found sitting 
in these chairs, looking as though rock- 
ing were the occupation of their long 
lives. On a raised platform under a 
baldachino there are discovered the offi- 
cers of the Young People's Society, 
while at one side there appear a piano 
and one who plays thereon, besides some 
trained to sing. There are addresses by 
the hosts, instrumental and vocal music, 
recitations and essays, all appropriate to 
the occasion, after which the old peo- 
ple form a procession, led by the parson, 
and all march to a room where the 
tables are laid, and are filled with straw- 
berries and cheer. 

So far as I know, Cranford alone has 

[158 J 

(Uo ^atoc^iaf ^tnuB 

an occasion like this, and few other 
places can have such an one, for few 
there be with no disuniting parochial 
fences to hold the inhabitants apart. In 
a town where the minister is now, as he 
was in the beginning, the minister, not 
of a small parish, but of a whole town, 
it is possible for all to join in an event 
of this character. When a town received 
a charter in the olden time, it was 
stipulated that the people " should take 
due care from time to time to be con- 
stantly provided with a learned, able, 
and orthodox minister," and therefore 
they were all taxed for the purpose. 
There were no "denominations" of 
varied degrees of " orthodoxy " ; there 
was but one meeting-house then, and 
Cranford has but one to-day. Blessed 

['59 ] 

^ Canity ^cf ettt^ 

Cranford ! We all think of course that 
there are points in regard to these things 
that we could change to advantage, but 
we try to effect any modifications in a 
lawful manner, not by schism and di- 
vision, but by conference and agree- 
ment. Doubtless we are none of us 
precisely satisfied, but we might not be 
unless each man, woman, and child 
possessed his own particular and indi- 
vidual " church," and thronged by him- 
self to his own meeting-house. The 
thrifty fathers made a canny scheme, 
and unanimously voted, long before the 
Revolutionary War, that " Peter Powers 
and Abraham Taylor should have all 
the taxes coming from non-resident 
proprietors, on condition that they bind 
themselves to maintain and constantly 

^tUx anb (^fitaf am 

support preaching for the term of five 
years, and erect a meeting-house, pay 
off the debts of the parish," etc., etc. 
Where is the town or parish that would 
not like to make a bargain of that sort 
with Peter and Abraham ? But, — could 
they be sure that the "preaching" that 
Peter and Abraham approved, or were 
willing to sleep under, would be like- 
wise agreeable to the others interested? 
The arrangement appears to have its 
weak side. 

It is on record that the fathers in 
other places were addicted to making 
equally shrewd bargains when they came 
to the support of the gospel. In the 
town of my many ancestors in the year 
of grace 1650, or thereabout, a question 
arose regarding the salary to be given to 


Cat^olk mtattB &tntxat 

the Reverend Samuel Dudley, and the 
town voted that the Selectmen should 
yearly "gather up" the sum of fifty 
pounds, and that in case of delinquency 
they should be answerable to the citi- 
zens for the " default," and should make 
up from their own pockets whatever 
sum they had failed to collect. There 
was no " graft " for these Selectmen. 

When the Episcopalian says, as he 
does every Sunday, that he believes in 
"the holy Catholic Church," he does 
not mean the Episcopal Church. 
He is broader than that — or, at least, 
his Prayer Book is. He knows that 
"catholic" means general, and that the 
Catholic Church must include "all the 
faithful." This idea was expressed plainly 
by the great Dr. Channing when he 


C^mtop^^v (Uort^ 

said that the True Church is the body 
of ** Christ's friends and followers who 
truly imbibe his spirit, no matter by 
what name they are called, in what 
house they worship, by what peculiari- 
ties of mode and opinion they are dis- 
tinguished, under what sky they live, 
or what language they speak/' 

That hard-headed Scot, Christopher 
North, once said, " Our religious feel- 
ings, when justly accordant with the best 
faith, may be opposite but true — the 
simple, austere worship of a Presbyte- 
rian, the richer one of an Episcopalian, 
and the still more pompous sanctities 
of Popery. . . . Surely the astronomer 
may worship God in the stars and the 
manifest temple of heaven, as well as a 
Scotch elder in a worm-eaten pew, in 


5ouv ^CiX0onB 

an ugly kirk of an oblong form sixty by 
forty feet; yet the elder is a true man 
and pure. There are deep foundations, 
and wide ones, too, on which manifold 
religions may be all established in 

It seems to me that the Church that 
is in My Cranford is emphatically a 
Catholic Church, though the members 
call themselves by different names. The 
blessing there is in having but one meet- 
ing-house in a town few can measure 
who have never lived in such a place. 
Have you ever seen, as I have, four 
"churches" of four different names 
frowning on one another from four dif- 
ferent corners of two cross streets ? Let 
us imagine four parsons heading our pro- 
cession at our Old Folks' Party ! Could 


&on^ ^fatfotm0 

they keep us from falling into con- 
fusion ? But with one only we have a 

We know from experience the unify- 
ing influence of one meeting-house and 
one parson. We have the content that 
the traveler feels in some English town. 
When we reflect, we acknowledge that 
in any denomination, as in any body of 
people united for a given purpose, it is 
not at all certain that every one is quite 
satisfied in every respect. We complain 
sometimes of binding and long-drawn- 
out religious creeds, and then we turn 
about and write political platforms many- 
fold more detailed than the longest of 
them. The Episcopalian often feels that 
one thing and another might be changed 
in his own creed or liturgy to advan- 


(^ Unifeb Communitij 

tage, but he does not leave his Church 
on that account. The Methodist and 
the Baptist find in their bodies matters 
that they would like altered ; even the 
Congregationalist sometimes longs for a 
bishop, and the Sandemanians, of whom 
Edward Everett Hale once wrote, doubt- 
less have had on occasions similar re- 
flections. What the world needs is united 
action in this sphere, and certainly we 
ought to be willing to sink our differ- 
ences and work as one body. That we 
do in Cranford. 

Our parson knows that we work to- 
gether. He felt the help of a united 
community when the people, with joy, 
made his home ready for his bride; 
when, later, they mourned with him as 
that young bride was one day carried 

t^t (§ctx\)t C^oxx 

to a city hospital, — perhaps, as they 
thought, never to return; when they 
rejoiced with him over the news that 
that life was to be saved ; and when 
they welcomed him home on his return 
bringing her to a happy convalescence. 
How the parish followed him in those 
anxious days it is impossible for me to 
relate, but it was an inspiration to feel 
a whole town moved by a single im- 
pulse hearty and sincere ! 

The Church has many activities, and 
for one the choir furnishes interesting 
food for thought. Sometimes there is 
much more inharmony than harmony 
in this connection, but I do not to-night 
dwell upon thoughts that are not agree- 
able. One of the most steadfast of the 
members of the choir here, once upon 


(^unt ^anna^ 

a time, was '* Aunt Hannah," as she was 
affectionately called. She did not em- 
brace matrimony until her judgment 
was fully matured, determined not to 
enter that honorable estate " unadvisedly 
or lightly," but "reverently, discreetly, 
advisedly, and soberly," according to 
the Prayer Book. When, after due 
consideration. Aunt Hannah became a 
bride, the other members of the choir 
that she had so long faithfully served, 
felt bound to sing a favorite anthem, 
and as the happy couple passed up the 
broad aisle to the altar, the different 
parts of the music were properly and 
carefully recited, — "I waited patiently, 
I waited patiently," as in the fugue 
pieces of a former period, and the con- 
gregation found it difficult to repress 

(Wlat^0 QU^et 

their feelings of approval, for they felt 
the appropriateness of the words to the 

The bard has sung, God never formed a soul 

Without its own peculiar mate to meet 
Its wandering half, when ripe to crown the 
Bright plan of bliss, most heavenly, most 
complete ! 


t^t §M<it^ of t^t la^getr^ 

Beauty on my hearth-stone blazing! 
To-night the triple Zoroaster 
Shall my prophet be and master : 
To-night will I pure Magian be. 
Hymns to thy sole honor raising. 
While thou leap est fast and faster. 
Wild with self-delighted glee. 
Or sink* St low and glowest faintly 
As an aureole still and saintly. 
Keeping cadence to my praising 
Thee ! still thee / and only thee ! 



t^t ^dfifiaf^ of t^t ^at^m 

WE shall warm ourselves to-night 
by our maple-wood blaze and 
in imagination follow the fathers of a 
Sunday from their homes, ill protected 
from the winter cold, as they march 
through the bright and snowy woods 
single file, but doubly burdened, towards 
the centre of thought for the day, and 
put their nags for a while under the 
slight protection of the sheds around the 
meeting-house. This done, they them- 
selves enter through the " belfry porch " 
to the cheerless, — shall I say — cube- 
like room that is consecrated to the 

[ 173] 

tS}t (geautifuf T37ot£b 

worship of their God, who, if we may 
judge by the exhibitions in a world of 
beauty provided for His children, de- 
lights in grace and brightness and bril- 
liant tints. Do not the stars of night 
speak His glory ? Were not the myriads 
of gorgeous flowers and fruits painted 
by His hand ? However, we may not 
dispraise our ancestors who, in their 
poverty, and in their ignorance, wor- 
shiped God in temples made perhaps as 
well as their circumstances knew how. 
We sing now of — 

The golden bars that shine behind the sun, 
The glorious seas that seem beneath him 

The splendid hues all melting into one. 

We linger at the vigil 

With Him who bent the knee 


&toxkB of ^^ai?en 

To watch the old-time lilies 
In distant Galilee. 

In many ways we show that we appre- 
ciate Coleridge's " multitude in unity," 
and in our song, with Chadwick, we 
give — 

Thanks for the harvest of beauty. 

For that which the hands cannot hold. 

The harvest eyes only can gather. 
And only our hearts can unfold. 

We sing vigorously of the glories of 
heaven, which, as St. John saw it, " lieth 
four-square,'' like our meeting -room, 
and we say : — 

Thy walls are made of precious stone, 

Thy bulwarks diamond-square. 
Thy gates are all of orient-pearl. — 

Thy ageless walls are bounded 
With amethyst unpriced. 

[ '75] 

^aUat^ igt^xtiB 

We even adorn our building with me- 
morial windows of stained glass ; and 
then, as we look at the walls, uninvit- 
ing in their simplicity, we let our love 
for the glories of the heaven that we 
have in mind assert itself, and cry : — 

O mother dear, Jerusalem, 
When shall I come to thee ? 

Certainly times have changed ! Our 
fathers protested against what they 
thought was too profuse ornament in 
church building as well as in ritual, 
and we are now letting the pendulum 
swing a very little way back. 

Their Sunday, which they called Sab- 
bath, began on Saturday at sundown. 
Did not the biblical day begin with the 
evening ? We adhere to Scripture lit- 



13)tM^ (^6fution0 

erally in this case. Shall man begin his 
day in the morning when the Maker 
began his in the evening ? 

The scene is not unfamiliar. The 
father of the family had attended to his 
weekly ablutions, had put his skillet of 
water on the wood fire, and had sat 
down with razor and soap, to free him- 
self from the week's accumulation of 
beard. The mother of the family had 
made her "hasty pudding," which was 
eaten with milk, or, that failing, with 
butter and molasses ; the small children 
had been put to bed; a chapter had 
been read from the Bible, a fervent 
prayer had been offered, and in the 
perfect quiet that followed every one 
rested. There was no noise that even- 
ing, nor that night, nor the day follow- 

[ ^77] 

€^t Catu^xBm 

ing. A Sabbath stillness reigned o'er 

The actual Sabbath came in due or- 
der, and what did our forefathers do 
then in Cranford ? They began to ** keep 
the day/' before they had their first 
meal of bread and milk or tea and toast, 
by reading the Testament or studying 
the catechism, but it was not long be- 
fore they had to start on their devi- 
ous way to the meeting-house. It was 
usually about nine when that exercise 
was begun by those who were to walk, 
and the others were not far behind, for 
there were miles to be measured and 
brooks or rivers to be forded. Some one 
was left behind, of course, to put the 
pudding and pork and vegetables in the 
pot for the supper that would be so 


€^^ tii§in5^(man 

welcome after the long meeting, with 
its fast broken only by doughnuts and 
cheese munched between services. The 
services were tedious indeed, and there 
was one part of them known as " the 
long prayer," of which a retrospective 
poet says that it — 

Was like a toilsome journey round the 

By Cathay and the Mountains of the Moon, 
To come at our own door-stone, where He 

Waiting to speak to us, the Father, dear. 
Who is not far from any one of us. 

There was the tithing-man, who kept 
order in the meeting-house, and, if he 
noticed repeated absence from the ser- 
vices, took it upon himself to visit the 
delinquents at their homes, to inquire 

[ 179] 

^capt^xau ^on0 

into the state of their health. He was 
empowered also to see that none trav- 
eled on the holy day except to and 
from the meeting-house. It is related 
that, on one occasion somewhere, he 
stopped an unregenerate son of an hon- 
ored father to remonstrate with him 
upon his offense, whereupon the son 
replied, " My father lies dead at Dur- 
ham," or wherever, and was allowed 
to keep on and revisit the grave where 
his father had lain for a score of years. 
Even in the ancient times scapegrace 
sons were known to practice deceit on 
the innocent and unwary. 

Those gentle days are gone. 
At our unworthy doors their dust off-shaken ; 

No more that noiseless dawn. 
For which no other dawn could be mistaken, 

(B^tfittij to Ctanfotrb 

The reverent night withdrawn, 
Looks at us with calm eyes, till we awaken. 

Once upon a time a teacher came from 
England to give instruction in methods 
by which memory could be strengthened. 
His secret, if secret it could be called, 
was the connection of one thought and 
the next. It has come to mind as I have 
wondered to-night what connection there 
may be between the Sabbath of our an- 
cestors and the means of approach to My 
Cranford at the present moment. It can 
only be that the difficulties in the way 
of getting to meeting have suggested to 
me the difficulty of getting to Cranford 
itself from anywhere. 

I have made a map on which Cran- 
ford is the centre of the universe, and all 

roads lead to it. It is based upon the 
truth that it is possible to go from Cran- 
ford to all parts of the world, and by 
starting from my Mansion as a centre 
these roads are the spokes of a great 
wheel the circumference of which is 
illimitable. It is but yesterday that vis- 
itors came to Cranford Station and could 
not get to me until I had sent for them, 
for the station is, as we know, in an ad- 
joining township. Our most accessible 
railroad connection is in another state, 
and the name of the post office there 
is in no way suggestive of Cranford or 
even of the town in which the station is. 
To both of these places ^'stages," as 
they are called, ply every day except 
Sunday, but from only one of them can 
the stray traveler get away, unless he 


(^ QfTlonopoCbt 

has made special provision for the pur- 

We can communicate with the rest 
of the world through the post office 
twice every day, again excepting Sunday, 
and by means of a local telephone sys- 
tem owned by the editor of the Cran- 
ford Times ; but all the world that tele- 
phones to us is taxed to support it, a 
little sum additional being paid to the 
canny editor for the privilege. What 
a convenience it must be to an editor 
to be such a monopolist ! Hour by hour, 
day by day, Sundays included, week by 
week, he sits in his sanctum, his head 
embraced by the spring that ends with 
two additional ears that cover those 
which nature endowed him with. All 
the news of Cranford centres in him ! 

tS}t e^xtot 

There is no need of sewing societies, or 
of women's clubs, or men's clubs, to 
gather information of what is going on in 
town ! It all comes to the editor by vir- 
tue of necessity, I think. But the editor 
helps the telephone man by putting an 
item into his paper slyly asking all in- 
terested to send prompt information of 
local happenings to the office, in order, 
forsooth, that telephonic messages may 
be properly distributed. Then the paper 
gets more early information than it 
otherwise might, and the giver is not to 
be accused of exploiting himself in per- 
sonal items. 

What care we that there are obstacles 
in the way of access to Cranford? We 
want quiet. We all know the routes that 
lead hither, and we can usually let our 


We M>ant Oukf 

friends know them; and, furthermore, 
our fathers got on very well, and they 
were good and wise ! 

I know not that the men of old 

Were better than men now. 
Of heart more kind, of hand more bold, 

Of more ingenuous brow. 


A story in which native humor reigns 
Is often usefuly always entertains ; 
A graver fact enlisted on your side 
May furnish illustration y well applied: 
But sedentary weavers of long tales 
Give me the fidgets and my patience fails, 
' Tis the most asinine employ on earth 
To hear them tell of parentage and birth. 
And echo conversations dull and dry, 

CowPER, Conversation, 

A life all turbulence and noise may seem, 
7o him that leads it, wise and to be praised ; 
But wisdom is a pearl with most success 
Sought in still water and beneath still skies. 

CowPER, The Garden, 

What is it fades and flickers in the fire y 

Mutters and sighs and yields reluctant breathy 

As if in the red embers some desire y 

Some word prophetic burnedy defying death ? 

Lucy Larcom. 

(^ TUeaf t^^ Community 

PERHAPS the cold of this night 
holds my attention to the sooth- 
ing and warming effects of that toddy 
that our fathers so much loved. It must 
be confessed that they loved it often too 
warmly, and not with the wisdom that 
they showed in some other matters. 
The "hottle'* hung in the fireplace 
ready to warm the hissing beer destined, 
often at short notice, to be transformed 
into *' flip" ; and rum, sugar, and water 
were ever ready to make toddy for the 
incomer, who might or might not be 
overcome by the winter blasts. Rum and 


Out ^oVb^ 

molasses were kept in the cupboard for 
the " blackstrap " that was affected by 
some. There was no collection of people, 
no convocation of the clergy, no barn- 
raisings, no huskings, no benefits for a 
wounded or distressed neighbor, no feasts, 
at which toddy and perhaps wine was not 
thought to be well-nigh indispensable. 

My Cranford to - day has none of 
these dangerous things. Temperance 
is sometimes intemperately advocated ; 
but the result is favorable to the pros- 
perity of our little place, — it is happy 
and peaceful. Its roads invite the visitor 
to drive or walk, and they repay him 
for his pains in health, and in satis- 
faction as he finds himself under the 
shadow of the many magnificent trees 
that skirt the by-paths, — brightened 

€^t Coo))et ^^opB 

in August by brilliant cardinal flowers, 
— and shield the running brooks from 
impertinent observation. 

As he walks through the winding 
pathways he observes outside of the 
many prosperous farmsteads small build- 
ings that serve as cooper shops, for the 
farmers utilize their spare time, when 
there are no crops to care for and no 
cows to milk, by constructing firkins 
and casks, which make an appreciable 
addition to their incomes. It used to 
be said in the " good old times " that 
all the Cranford folks were coop- 
ers, except the minister, and that he 
hooped his own cider barrels. The Cap- 
italist, one fine summer morning, asked 
me to go with him behind his white 
steed to see some of the beauties of 

Outr ^on^0 

lake and wood, and I willingly gave 
my consent ; for, though I had been 
ordered by my medical adviser to 
" walk," I found that a drive was an 
agreeable diversion, and I saw the beau- 
ties of Rocky Pond, and the milder 
graces of Silver Lake, once known as 
"Long Pond," but renamed in view 
of the attractions of a new title allur- 
ing to those who were desired as seek- 
ers of its wooded shores for picnics. 

If you are of those who are eligible 
for the entertainment of the June Old 
Folks' Party, you will wish to drive, 
and the twelve roads of My Cranford 
which lead directly to all portions of 
the known world are well adapted for 
that. A summer walk, however, of from 
three to five miles contributed to my 

(§ ^xty^tx T»ebbin5 

rest and strength, and I commend it 
to all. 

The road to Silver Lake takes me 
by the residence of a prominent citi- 
zen who once decided to celebrate the 
fact that he and his spouse had been 
in the happy bonds of matrimony for 
the space of a quarter-century. This 
leads me to say that My Cranford dif- 
fers from Heaven in one important re- 
spect. In Jerusalem the Golden they 
neither marry nor are given in mar- 
riage, but matrimony still is fashionable 
with us in Cranford. Yet, if Heaven is 
a continuation and consummation of 
earthly bliss, may there not be silver 
weddings there, or at least golden wed- 
dings, in a place where everything 
shines with the glories of precious 

I ^93 1 

etric anb (Kf oba 

stones and where we know even the 
harps are golden ? 

How does this variety of earthly bliss 
come about ? My Cranford differs not 
from other earthly places where young 
human beings are found. Eric and 
Rhoda go to the same school as boy and 
girl ; they are taken Sunday by Sunday 
to the same meeting-house ; they attend 
the Y. P. S. C. E. gatherings and others 
unchaperoned; they make their way 
year by year through the curriculum 
of the high school together, and they 
find themselves at last well acquainted. 
Then there is a change. Eric has 
become a man and enters upon the 
work of a man; Rhoda wishes to be 
independent of other support than that 
of her own head and hands. She finds 

[ 194] 

(5 (Reb (Ro0e 

clerical work in a city near by; but 
as he labors in his fields Eric forgets 
not the bright blue eyes that seem 
so particularly bright and so heavenly 
blue. He looks with interest upon 
"The Ranch," not far from his pater- 
nal rooftree, which is on the road to 
Pine Hill, and begins to wonder how 
Rhoda would like to be its mistress some 
day. He drinks of the cooling spring 
near the empty old house, and longs 
for companionship as he drinks. Even 
the daily paper incites him to think of 
Rhoda and of the red rose that she 
plucked in her dewy garden and gave 
him to grace his buttonhole when they 
went to walk on a certain June even- 
ing, and he is found reading, as if in a 
reverie, — 


(^ ^oun5 T»ife 

There 's a softly whispered story, 
World, world old, yet ever new ! 

Oh, the fleeting 

Love-light greeting 
Me, from blessed eyes of blue ! 
Ah, my Rhoda, the old garden 
Ever green in memory grows ! 
Many fair hands since have gathered 
Roses red for gallants gay. 
But the fairest, sweetest harvest 
Was the one I bore away ! 

Does Eric read the words as printed, 
or does he adapt them to circum- 
stances ? No matter. We look one 
bright Sunday over the seats in the old 
meeting-house, as we listen to the min- 
ister's words about varieties of love ; we 
know that as Eric sits beside his young 
wife he takes in every word, and that 
the road to the happy silver wedding, 


(Bitfo 50 to CoC%e 

yes, to the golden wedding, is already- 
open before two hearts that beat as one. 
Or is it Gabriel and Geraldine, estab- 
lished in their happy home nearer the 
meeting-house ? They have been brought 
up far apart, but they have had the for- 
tune to drift into the same great benefi- 
cent summer school, and, as their minds 
are filled with noble thoughts uttered 
by consecrated men, an acquaintance 
begins that follows them though they 
go to different colleges (for in these ad- 
vanced days even girls go to college 
from My Cranford) ; and another senti- 
ment, a sentiment of a warmer, holier 
character, overflows their souls and they 
cease to drift ; they grow together, and 
year by year their natures get into closer 
sympathy, until the words of the minis- 

[ 197] 

3n))xtxnQ Com^pan"^ 

ter of religion make them one in the 
sight of the world, as they were one al- 
ready by the heavenly power of undying 
love. The process is not ** falling in 
love/' — they have simply grown to- 
gether, and how, it is impossible for one 
to say. 

Thus, indeed, the old, old story is re- 
peated in My Cranford, and many are 
the hearthstones sacred to its memo- 
ries ! 

In most communities an engraved 
card would have been sent, in such a 
case as the silver wedding I began to 
speak of, to each of nine hundred 
friends. Not so in My Cranford. A 
notice appeared in the little weekly 
paper known as the Cranford Times, 
to which I have already made refer- 


Z^t ^ociaC &tvd 

ence, to the effect that " all inhabitants 
of Cranford '' would be welcomed on 
the occasion. Cranford is thus again 
shown to be united and homogeneous. 
I was myself included in this broad in- 
vitation, but in view of my age and my 
somewhat recent coming to the ham- 
let and the inclemency of the weather, 
— it had been raining for days in a way 
to "break the record," as was said, — 
I gave up my place to others and 
hugged the big stove that was attempt- 
ing to dry out the house dampened by 
the unprecedented humidity. 

The mention of this gathering leads 
me to say that the inhabitants of Cran- 
ford are more nearly on a level than is 
usual even in ancient New England 
towns. It is true that there are the 
[ 199 ] 


Cheeryble Brothers, and there is the 
CapitaHst, and there are a few others 
who may have greater worldly posses- 
sions than "the mass,'* but on the other 
hand there are no "poor." There was 
a Poorhouse once, but it became a 
burden, and was given up. We know 
that Leather French was obliged to go 
all the way to the State of Maine when 
he sought one to die in. There have 
been some two or three persons, insane 
or decrepit, who could not well support 
themselves, but they were cared for in 
some other way. One may be given a 
job at sawing wood for the high school, 
and another may be "boarded out,'' but 
they all seem to be well housed and 

A man may be said to be rich when 
[ 200 ] 



Si lJ 




















he feels that he will not be frowned upon 
if he wear his old clothes. At least, I 
have heard that that is the case, and I 
have reached that exalted stage in hu- 
man progress, though few ever attain it 
who live where streets are paved and 
sidewalks made of artificial stone, — 
"shamrock" they call it, and a more 
expressive translation could not be made. 
If this definition of **rich'' be correct, 
there is no more wealthy community 
than Cranford ; for all of us, — the male 
inhabitants at least, — from highest to 
lowest, from youngest to oldest, wear 
our hats and coats, not to mention other 
garments, until the fashions under which 
they were constructed have been forgot- 
ten and buried, never to be resurrected, 
— and we are comfortable ! What mat- 
[ 201 ] 

Out T»ea(t^ 

ters it if my old hat has seen better days, 
if there be two holes in it besides the 
one that I put my head into, and if the 
band be the worse for wear? It is a faith- 
ful old friend. When I appear at Macy's, 
every one knows that I have a better one 
at home, and that it will be exhibited on 
Sundays and on Old Home Day. 

It is not on this basis, however, that 
the wealth of Cranford stands. It was 
publicly stated more than twoscore years 
ago that Cranford " is one of the wealth- 
iest towns in the country, and that every- 
thing pertaining to its farms and farm- 
houses bears a token of wealth and 
thrift." This statement is the testimony 
of a writer far removed from local pre- 
judice. The Cheeryble Brothers have 
mills that make the great pines and oaks 
[ 202 ] 

T»^ M TUotft 

into lumber, which goes to increase the 
wealth of Cranford and do its share in 
the progress of the world. On one of 
my walks I encountered, at a distance 
from the centre, a husbandman, who told 
me of seeing one of the brothers, the 
Senator, near one of his mills, and, said 
he, *'he was helping to pile lumber, 
and he worth his thousands!'' 

The wealthiest man or woman in 
Cranford does not disdain to put a hand 
to whatever is necessary, and the 
Cheeryble Brothers least of all. They 
dominate *' their thousands'' of acres as 
well as their thousands of dollars, but 
they share with all their neighbors the 
labor that Cranford needs to have done. 

The female portion of the commu- 
nity is not so blest as we men are, and 
[ 203 ] 

®t^00 ^atUxm 

accordingly one does not have to wait 
until Sunday, nor go to the meeting- 
house, to see the adornments that fashion 
of the twentieth century has decreed to 
be correct for them to follow. Poor 
creatures ! they go about the hamlet in 
finery that loudly proclaims their in- 
digence and their adherence to the dic- 
tates of Paris and London, perhaps of 
Butterick's or other patterns, as depicted 
in some Bazar or Home Journal. 

He meets, by heavenly chance express, 

His destined wife ; some hidden hand 
Unveils to him that loveliness 

Which others cannot understand. 
No songs of love, no summer dreams 

Did e'er his longing fancy fire 
With visions like to this ; she seems 

In all things better than desire. 


(g^ ^^ixunt^ C^anu 

His merits in her presence grow. 
To match the promise in her eyes. 

And round her happy footsteps blow 
The authentic airs of Paradise. 


With good and gentle-humored hearts 
I choose to chat where^ er I come. 

Whatever the subject be that starts ; 
But if I get among the glum, 

I hold my tongue, to tell the truth. 

And keep my breath to cool my broth. 

John Byrom. 

(jn^ ^xxt (5o(^0 Ouf 

THE Cheeryble Brothers ! 
When Dickens wrote of them 
seventy years ago, he said that they were 
two ; but we have found four of them. 
There is the Merchant, the Senator, the 
Farmer, and the Planter ; and they have 
been driven by heahh and other con- 
siderations to divide their places of resi- 
dence, just as their grandfather divided 
his seven sons when he sent them to 
college, some to Harvard, others to 
Yale, and the remainder to the home 
institution at Hanover. It would not do, 
I suppose he argued, to give the weight 
I 209 ] 

Cmnfovb C^ifbtrm 

of his example to over-filling the fresh- 
man class in any one of the institutions 
by sending the whole family to it. In 
time they turned out lawyers, doctors, 
judges, dictionary-makers, and farmers. 
They showed that college education, 
whatever its brand, was worth having. 
That was a day of considerable fam- 
ilies, and onedry-as-dust bethought him- 
self to estimate the number of children 
in a portion of Cranford one day. He 
found that there were but three among 
the forty-eight families that had had no 
children, while the remaining forty-five 
owned to three hundred and eighty- 
four, making an average of eight and 
eight fifteenths to each, and raising the 
query to which the eight fifteenths of a 
boy or girl belonged. Nine had six chil- 


&onQ &xy^t& 

dren each, not counting any odd fractions 
of children; seven had seven each; four 
had eight each ; eight had nine each ; 
four had ten ; two, eleven ; three, twelve ; 
two, thirteen; one, fourteen; one, fifteen; 
and one had sixteen olive plants sitting 
around his family board. 

Here were three hundred and eighty- 
four children, of whom three hundred 
and twenty-nine lived to adult age. The 
father of one of the families of twelve 
reached the age of ninety-two, while 
his wife died at eighty-eight, after near 
threescore and ten years of married life. 
Twelve of these children lived so long 
that their ages counted up to nine hun- 
dred and twenty-two years, averaging 
nearly seventy-seven years. Perhaps this 
record may be equaled, but I consider 



it a proud tribute to the health-giving 
qualities of the Cranford atmosphere ! 

It is one of the blessings of My Cran- 
ford that everybody is busy. It seems as 
though the boys and girls begin to work 
as soon as they are born. At any rate, 
it is certainly not long after that im- 
portant event in their history that we 
see them in hosts on their knees pick- 
ing the strawberries that grow in the 
cultivated fields by the ton, and not long 
after that they are occupied with differ- 
ent work. They harness and drive the 
horses; they mix the feed for the mul- 
titudinous coops of chickens that are 
seen everywhere; they feed the cows; 
and they grow by degrees, or rather by 
age, into every industry of their fathers. 
It strikes the visitor with wonder as he 


6pevTj One Occupied 

sees how freely both boys and girls drive 
over the twelve roads that, as I have said, 
connect Cranford with the rest of the 
world, and how secure they evidently 
are from harm. No less busy are the 
mothers and older sisters, who are mo- 
thers to be. They are blest above city 
boys and girls and men and women be- 
cause they are inducted at a very early 
age into the labors that Shakespeare and 
other writers of long ago knew as "mys- 
teries''" indeed, — the trades of one sort 
and another by which the social union 
is kept agoing in good order. A diffi- 
culty arises; for where every one is oc- 
cupied, it becomes difficult to get help 
in any work that would take another 

' Old French mestier^ French metier^ a usual oc- 
cupation, a trade. 

[ 213 1 

'WM^xn^ ©i0§e0 

out of his or her immediate sphere of 

One of the necessary " mysteries " 
of every household is the washing of the 
dishes, that we men so little think of 
except when that work is poorly done. 
How many dishes is it necessary to use 
during the day in a small household ? 
Probably the " help " that we have in 
our Cranford homes might tell, but 
usually they are reticent on that matter. 
One thing I know, that the ever recur- 
ring drudgery becomes a weariness to the 
flesh, unless the flesh be flesh only and 
not the casket of a mind. An epitaph 
that I am told exists in a cemetery far 
from My Cranford gives a vivid glimpse 
of a woman who evidently had not too 
much mind, but too much for that par- 

(Ro6in0on Ctu^oe 

ticular branch of household economy. 
This woman wrote it herself, so they 
say. Thus it reads : — 


Here lies a poor woman who always was tired, 

She lived in a house where help was not hired, 

Her last words on earth were : " Dear friends, I am going 

Where washing ain't done, nor sweeping, nor sewing, 

But everything there is exact to my wishes, 

For where they don't eat there's no washing of dishes. 

I '11 be where loud anthems will always be ringing, 

But, having no voice, I '11 be clear of the singing. 

Don't mourn for me now, don't mourn for me never j 

I 'm going to do nothing, forever and ever." 

One of our inhabitants who ought to 
be remembered, if only for his name, 
is Robinson Crusoe, whom most people 
have never met outside of De Foe's 
masterpiece. How he escaped from 
those pages no one in Cranford is able 


(§n (^ttxactit^t Cotta^t 

to tell me. Day by day I see him pass 
my Mansion to or from his work ; but 
what that work is, I confess I know 
not. Is it felling trees for the Cheeryble 
Brothers, or loading trains for the great 
railway that passes our far-away station ? 
Be it what it may, of this I am sure, 
it is work that breeds contentment and 
permits the building of a home, and 
the little cottage up the road yonder 
is just the one that I should like to in- 
habit, if unkindly rats were to try to 
make their meals of locofoco matches 
in the dry and ready-to-burn timbers 
of my Mansion, and I should be sud- 
denly turned adrift in the cold night, 
as Wanamaker was. But, alas, where 
may Friday be? He never passes this 


tS)t (gxtkx enb 

There are some questions that I long 
to put to Mr. Crusoe, if his memory 
is good after these twenty score years. 
I should like to ask him about the " bit- 
ter end" of the rope that he mentions 
in his account of his stressful experi- 
ence in a certain storm. Was it the end 
of the rope that was fastened to the 
" bitts/' and if it was not, what was it ? 
Can he stop some jSne day and tell me 
just where his remarkable island was? 
A world of interested youngsters awaits 
his word. 

There are few specialists in My Cran- 
ford. The village doctor, whom I see 
from my Mansion window, in hazard 
going from patient to patient in his lately 
acquired automobile, is one ; chug chug 

[ 217 ] 

Out ©octotr 

he goes, and small boys stand in fearful 
wonder as he passes by in a fruitful haste, 
that Bob Sawyer would have emulated 
had his bank account been equal to our 
doctor's, or his credit sufficient to en- 
able him to borrow money to buy such 
a machine. 

There are two blacksmiths, who keep 
the wagons in repair and the horses on 
a proper footing; but I fancy that any 
man of the capable population could 
wield a hammer or shoe a horse in case 
of emergency, not so well, of course, 
but well enough to show his capability. 
There must be a carpenter, for there are 
houses, old ones that need repairs and 
new ones going up, and yet there is not 
a man of Cranford who could not build 
a palace as well as shoe a horse. Mr. 


5^minin^ (^atUxB 

Dawes, it is true, mends the harnesses 
and makes them, too ; but he is at a 
disadvantage in making, for the great 
establishments are able to underbid him, 
and must be reckoned with unless one 
is in a hurry too great to permit him to 

Women, too, are busy at their various 
industries that are called skilled: the 
dresses are made for dame and dam- 
sel under these Colonial rooftrees; and 
though a mere man may not penetrate 
too far into the details of feminine mat- 
ters, it seems probable that some of the 
hats that flutter their plumes in the sum- 
mer winds are of home manufacture. 
If they are not, I dare affirm solemnly 
that they might be, for there is no such 
creation too intricate for the inventive 

[ 219 J 

(Tlo ^ai?em 

ingenuity of the girls and women whom 
we see of a Sunday in the meeting- 
house. As for cheese, butter, and the 
other products of the dairy, the women 
can do better than those to whom we 
owe the specimens that one is accus- 
tomed to find on city tables. 

In the colder portion of the year, 
there are other industries which give all 
the fairer part of Cranford opportunity 
to put money in their purses and to 
contribute to the adornment of home 
and church in the town. Have I not seen 
the Christmas garlands from the Cran- 
ford woods hanging in the churches of 
my own city ? 

There is no " tavern " in My Cran- 
ford, though " suitable persons " having 
" accommodations '' were in olden times 
[ 220 J 

(Uo &xctnBt 

licensed to enter upon the necessary 
occupation of innkeeper, and to sell at 
retail rum, brandy, wine, gin, and other 
spirituous liquors. For nearly a cen- 
tury, apparently, no such license has 
been issued. People who are ship- 
wrecked nowadays on the shores of 
Cranford are at the mercy of the pri- 
vate citizens, and they find that the 
quality of that mercy is not strained, 
but droppeth as the gentle rain from 
heaven, as Shakespeare saith of mercy 
in general. 

The book that fell from my hand as 
I gave myself up one day to thoughts 
of Cranford reminds me again, as I 
stop to replace it in its proper posi- 
tion, of the Cranford Public Library. 
[ 221 ] 

0pm (§tco))tB 

It is one that Mr. Carnegie did not 
build. It is not large, but it has an 
influence that cannot be measured. A 
large library in a great town has a 
wide influence ; but a small one in 
a small place — one where the readers 
have access to the very books them- 
selves without the intervention of a 
librarian — is a broader and more effi- 
cient power for good, in elevating the 
literary taste, and generally in diffus- 
ing knowledge and in deepening the 
channels of cultivation. Here are three 
alcoves, and shelves are arranged on 
three of the walls. We go where we 
will and browse as we choose, with 
no " custodian " to give us fear that 
we may be taken for bibliomaniacs 
with no sense of right and wrong. Yet 

[ 222 ] 

&xttX(XX^^ €cKBtt 

no one finds illustrations cut out of 
valuable volumes, nor are books clan- 
destinely carried from the shelves. 
What was it, by the w^ay, that the Au- 
tocrat wrote about the advantage to 
the child of even smelling the covers 
of books ? Cranford children walk in 
and out of these alcoves, and it does 
them good. 

It has been said that the inhabitants 
of Cranford are " literary,*' whatever 
that may signify ; and I have heard it 
also remarked that they use the lan- 
guage of their English progenitors 
more correctly than the inhabitants of 
many other favored places do. The 
literary taste has been emphasized by 
the "State's Literary Fund," and by 
this our library, which was founded 
[ 223 ] 


by special act of the state legislature, 
June II, 1799. This trait has become 
still more marked owing to the fact 
that many years ago a lady of Cran- 
ford, who wished well for the rising 
generation, gave a considerable portion 
of her fortune for the purpose of estab- 
lishing high-school education upon a 
secure foundation, and also by the 
public lectures of the Lyceum. The 
Public Library speaks for itself when- 
ever it is open, through the surpris- 
ingly large number of those, the young 
and the aged, who throng its portals 
and take its books to their homes. I 
confess that I have made considerable 
use of the books myself at times when 
my private collection proved unequal 
to the demands upon it. 
[ 224] 

Oukt &x\)xnci 

My fire has gone out ! My medi- 
tations are ended ! I shall now recall 
from day to day the agreeable mem- 
ories that these hours have brought to 
me, and I know that My Cranford will 
for many years revive my spirits, and 
that it will remain a picture of con- 
tent and joy as long as I live, however 
widely my feet may stray over our beau- 
tiful world. 

Moderate tasks and moderate leisure, 
Quiet living, strict-kept measure 
Both in suffering and in pleasure, — 
'T is for this my nature yearns. 

T37o»;b0i»ovt^ to ^\& (goofe 

Is then the final page before me spread. 
No further outlet left to mind or heart? 
Presumptuous Book! too forward to be read. 
How can I give thee license to depart? 

Go forth, my little Book ! pursue thy way; 
Go forth, and please the gentle and the good. 

(2t!)e laitierjjitie ^xe0 

U . S . A 




"There could hardly be imagined a more wholesome 
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** A work of love and sympathy, of personal and intel- 
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With portraits and views. Square crown 8vo, $1.50 net. 

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Crown 8vo, gilt top, ^1.50 






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